Interview with Northern Lincolnshire and Goole Hospitals Nurses
Viv Duncanson (Lead Nurse, Infection Prevention & Control) and Linda Barker (Nurse, Infection Prevention & Control) answer questions on:
- When to clean hands with soap and water vs alcohol handrub?
- What is the proper method of handwashing with soap and water?
- Why is hand hygiene important?
Interview with Viv Duncanson & Linda Barker on Handwashing
Source: National Patient Safety Agency
Interviewer - One of the issues that doctors and nurses still raise is how, when, and where to use alcohol hand rub and when and where soap and water should be used as well. Nurse Linda Barker works to prevent patients acquiring infections. So how do you know when to use hand rub and when to use soap and water?
Linda Barker - If it’s just day to day contact with a patient then it’s ok to use the hand rub which is available at every bedside in the hospital. And if we are doing a procedure or for instance, if potentially my hands might be soiled, then psychologically I would feel the need to go to the sink to wash my hands, which is the correct thing to do.
Interviewer - Is there a right and a wrong way to wash your hands?
Linda Barker - Basically the technique is the same in the way you apply the hand rub to the soap and the main important thing with the handwashing is that you thoroughly work both sides of the hands, both back of the hands, and the palms. And then the actual applying of the soap is the same technique as the handrub. It is very important that when you are rinsing your hands you have your hands up so that the water runs down. And again, drying your hands is very important. The way you dry your hands with a paper towel is away from your body and then throw the paper towel into the bin.
Interviewer - Is it about making a choice between when to use hand rub and when to use soap and water?
Linda Barker - Rightly or wrongly, 100 percent compliance with washing your hands each time is unrealistic in day to day practice. There’s many, many instances and moments with patients where it is perfectly acceptable, adequate, and safe to use hand rub.
Interviewer - Training this group of medical staff is Senior Infection and Prevention Control Nurse Viv Duncanson. She told me hand hygiene must become second nature in any healthcare setting.
Viv Duncanson - We really can do with hand hygiene becoming like a reflex action for all healthcare workers because hand hygiene is the key thing that can be practiced to ensure that our patients don’t acquire preventable hospital acquired infection.