In order to receive your certification in nurse assisting, you must become well-versed in what’s known as Standard Precautions, also referred to as Universal Precautions, when it comes to safeguarding patients from infectious diseases. While working throughout a health care facility, you’ll come in contact a host of germs, viruses and bacteria that if not checked and monitored could result in a mass outbreak within the facility, or worse, within the community. Therefore, one of the most important steps you, as a CNA, can take to prevent the transmission of infectious diseases is to follow the 10 standard infection control precautions as outlined by major health organizations and hospitals.
The 10 Standard Infection Control Precautions
The following 10 precautions are considered universally applicable for all CNAs, and medical staff in general. While your specific employer may feature an expanded version of these precautions, consider the following list applicable unless otherwise noted by your employer.
- Wear Disposable Gloves – These gloves are an essential aspect to the sanitation and protection of your patients and yourself. Never touch a sick patient or their belongings without wearing these protective gloves.
- Wash Hands and Surfaces – Immediately after your hands and surrounding environment becomes contaminated with bodily fluids, was these areas and surfaces thoroughly and with the provided sterilization solution. It’s essential to keep your eyes open for potential contamination so they may be treated immediately.
- Wear Protective Clothing – It’s imperative that you wear protective clothing, such as masks and gowns, when dealing with highly contagious individuals. However, your employer may require such protective gear when dealing with those who are not known to be contagious as an act of precaution.
- Eliminate Sharp Objects – After utilizing sharp objects, such as needles, you must immediately discard such objects in the designated bio-hazard container. Never place a used object on a counter or table, as this can easily transmit harmful germs and viruses.
- Cover Open Wounds and Cuts – If you have a cut or open wound on your body, you must thoroughly protect these entrances into your body with a sterilized bandage.
- Clean Bodily Fluids Promptly – Do not let blood or other bodily fluids rest for longer than required. Immediately upon noticing any bodily fluids on or around the patient, clean, disinfect and sterilize the area according to the requirements set forth by your employer.
- Handle Soiled Linens Carefully – When changing linens ñ especially soiled linens ñ wear protective gear and handle with great care. A myriad of germs and viruses thrive in linens, therefore it’s imperative to be mindful when dealing with such fabrics.
- Secure Contaminated Articles – Prevent spreading disease and illnesses by securing contaminated articles of clothing and other belongings as quickly as possible.
- Proper Waste Elimination – Make sure to place waste materials in a leak proof and air-tight container provided by your employer. Wear protective gear while handling human waste and other bodily fluids.
- Resuscitation Masks/Bags – Always have resuscitation masks and bags within arms reach when working with hospital and nursing home patients.