Infection control is a discipline aimed to guarantee protection of individuals with the possibility of being exposed to contracting an infection. Acquiring of infections takes place while in the community or when receiving care as a result of health problems, in diverse settings (Reed & Kemmerly 2009). Reed and Kemmerly further described nosocomial infection as an infection acquired by the patients or staff members from the hospital environment. In addition to the nurse being prone to acquiring nosocomial infection, the challenge is to treat patients effectively without transmitting new diseases. Examples of nosocomial infections include bacterial and fungal infections of the surgical wounds, lower respiratory tracts, and the urinary tract.
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Review of the literature
A study carried out in Korean Journal of Nosocomial Infection Control (2009) showed that nosocomial infection affects both patients’ health and the health care organization leading to the hiking of the cost of health care. In addition to financial resources, Korean Journal of Nosocomial Infection Control also linked nosocomial infections to the burdens experienced by the nurses while in hospital. The organization argued that overburdening of the nurses leads to diversion of nursing time from implementation of probable infection control measures to save patients from infections.
In their studies, Cronin, Leo and McCleary (2008) discovered the various methods imposed by nurses in containing the contagious organisms. Among the methods included is application of medical asepsis, which involves washing of hands, wearing of facial masks and wearing of gowns at the right place, observance of hygiene, and sterilization of materials before use. According to Cronin, Leo and McCleary, nurses employed medical asepsis methods in their daily activities through ensuring that the health workers sterilized their hands before applying clean linen to the patients’ beds. In addition, Cronin, Leo and McCleary found out that the nurses in their daily activities, kept clean linens in clean cupboards to prevent contaminations.
Reed & Kemmerly (2009) in their study found out that urinary tract-associated infections as one of the nosocomial infections that affected the greatest number of nurses in hospitals. In attending the patients, Reed and Kemmerly expressed on how nurses accidentally got in contact with the urinal fluids leading to the spread of nosocomial infection. Despite nosocomial infection being so contagious, Reed and Kemmerly believed in the control of nosocomial infections if amicable measures are to be employed.
For instance, they argued on practicing hand hygiene and use of maximal obstruction safety measures during the administration of the catheter to patients as a means of reducing the rate at which nosocomial infections spread. Apart from the nurses washing the catheters and the insertion sites of patients habitually, it is also advisable for them to dispose of the clinical wastes cautiously.
Ventilation associated pneumonia, a nosocomial infection, also spreads extraordinarily in less ventilated rooms. However, Reed and Kemmerly in their study found out that the elevating the head of the bed at an angle of 45 degrees enhanced smooth flow of the clean air within the hospital rooms leading to control of nosocomial infections. Cronin, Leo and McCleary associated nosocomial infection with peptic ulcer disease prophylaxis; according to them, administration of peptic ulcer disease prophylaxis to critically sick patients controlled the spread of nosocomial infection.
It is the responsibility of nurses and the health workers to protect themselves against bacterial infection. Llata et al. (2009) found out that the isolation of the body from materials produced by the body helped control the spread of nosocomial infections. They emphasized on the use of gloves when in contact with moist body surfaces, use of facial covers when prone to peril of contacting respiratory secretions or wearing of gowns when in touch with body discharges as the safety measures pertaining acquiring of the infections.
Llata et al in their article also expressed on administration of medical surveillance as one of the effective methods in controlling the spread of healthcare associated infections. According to Llata et al., administration of medical surveillance played a crucial role in creating awareness to the hospital staff members, and other hospital attendants on the effects and spread of hospital-acquired diseases for them to take appropriate measures.
Llata et al. in their study, also found out that shortage of nurses contributed to the rapid spread of nosocomial infections. They found that the nursing shortage lead to a decrease of the nurse-patient ratio, resulting to burdening of the available nurses, who may eventually lack the time for practicing infection control measures. Increase of the number of nurses in health care will help significantly in containing the spread of nosocomial infections. Shortage of nurses also leads to nurse floating, a condition that exposed many nurses to acquiring health care diseases due to unfamiliarity of the nurses with critical care settings.
Little is known about what leads to the rapid spread of nosocomial infections, leading to many people within the hospital environment being at risk of acquiring nosocomial infections, which may result into many deaths in hospitals. The lack of enough information on the spread and effects of nosocomial infections leads to a lot of money being spent on laying amicable measures to eradicate these nosocomial related diseases.
However, the best and the cheapest practices recommendations based on the literature review are to practice health hygiene, wearing of safety gowns when prone to contact with patients’ body fluids. It is also advisable for the health centers to increase the number of knowledgeable nurses to lessen the burden of the few nurses within health centers (Cronin, Leo, & McCleary 2008).
Cronin,S., Leo, F. & McCleary, M. (2008). Linking Nurse Staffing to Nosocomial Infections: A Potential Patient Safety Threat. The Georgetown Undergraduate Journal of Health Sciences 5 (2).
Korean Journal of Nosocomial Infection Control. (2009). Korean Society for Nosocomial Infection Control. KAMJE Journals. Web.
Llata, E., Gaynes, R., Fridkin, S. & Weinstein, R.A. (2009). Measuring the scope and magnitude of hospital-associated infection in the United States: The value of prevalence surveys. Clinic Infection Diseases, 48(10),1434–1440. Web.
Reed, D. & Kemmerly, S.A. (2009). Infection Control and Prevention: A Review of Hospital-Acquired Infections and the Economic Implications. The Ochsner Journal, 9(1): 27-31. Web.