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Nursing - infection control


Disposable plastic aprons must be worn if there is a risk of clothing or uniforms coming into contact with blood and other body fluids (except sweat). They must also be worn if you come into contact with the skin or bed linen of a patient colonised with MRSA.

Plastic aprons must be changed every time you see – or treat – a patient and the old ones thrown away as clinical waste.

Full body repellent gowns should be worn where there is a risk of extensive splashing of blood and other body fluids (except sweat) onto the skin of health care practitioners.

Face masks and eye protection should be worn where there is a risk of blood and other body fluids splashing into the face and eyes.

Respiratory protective equipment should be used when clinically indicated. If in doubt seek the advice of the Team.


Sharps must not be passed directly from hand to hand and handling should be kept to a minimum.

Needles must not be bent or broken before or after use, or resheathed after use.

Needles and syringes must not be taken apart before throwing them away.

Once full, secure the container and record the name and date of closure on the container.

Used sharps must be put into a sharps container (conforming to UN3291 and BS 7320 standards) at the point of use and must not be filled above the mark indicating the box is full. Containers in public areas should be put in a safe place – never on the floor – and temporary lids must always be closed after use.

Infection Control Team:

The James Cook University Hospital

Friarage Hospital

Marton Road,



North Yorkshire



telephone: 01642 854800

fax: 01642 282572

tel: 01609 763901

telephone: 01642 854800 fax: 01642 282572 tel: 01609 763901 Standard Principles Of Infection Control Inf ormation

Standard Principles Of Infection Control

Information for all Healthcarers

September 2004

This leaflet contains the basic principles of infection control which should be followed by ALL healthcare staff to help reduce the risk of infection to and from patients, staff and visitors.

Hospital wards and departments

The hospital should be visibly clean, free from dust and dirt and acceptable to patients, their visitors and staff.

Where a piece of equipment is used for more than one patient – for example a commode or bath hoist - it must be cleaned every time after use.

Follow Trust guidance when making arrangements for used and infected linen, food hygiene, pest control and getting rid of clinical waste.

All staff involved in hospital hygiene should receive education and training related to the prevention of hospital-acquired infection.


Hands that are visibly dirty must be washed with liquid soap and water.

Always clean your hands before seeing or treating each patient and if you come into contact with their skin, food, dressings or invasive devices.

If you are carrying out different caring activities on the same patient, wash your hands then dry them between procedures, or use an alcohol-based gel. Sometimes the Infection Control Team may advise against using alcohol hand rubs as a first method of cleaning, for example it is not affective against Norwalk-like virus or Clostridium difficile spores. The advice of the Team should always be sought.

Staff must remove ALL wrist and hand jewellery (apart from wedding rings) at the start of each clinical shift before cleaning their hands. Cuts and scratches must be covered with waterproof dressings.

Effective handwashing involves four stages: preparation (wetting hands under tepid running water BEFORE applying liquid soap), washing, rinsing and drying.

When washing your hands with soaps or gels, they must be rubbed together vigorously for at least 15 seconds, paying particular attention to the tips of the fingers, the thumbs and the areas between the fingers. Hands should be rinsed thoroughly before drying them with good quality paper towels. If wedding rings are worn please make sure the area under the ring is clean and dry.

If washing hands with an alcohol handrub, make sure they are free of dirt or organic material, and completely covered. Again they must be rubbed together vigorously, paying particular attention to the tips of the fingers, the thumbs and the areas between the fingers, until the solution has evaporated and the hands are dry.

Apply an emollient hand cream at the end of a shift to stop the skin from drying out. If a particular soap or hand gel is irritating the skin contact Occupational Health.


Gloves must be worn for invasive procedures or if you are treating open wounds, sores, or carrying out other procedures which have a risk of exposure to blood or other body fluids, and when handling sharp or contaminated instruments.

When the above applies, gloves should be put on immediately before seeing the patient and removed as soon as the examination is over. Always change gloves between caring for different patients or if you are carrying out a number of different care procedures on the same patient.

Gloves must be thrown away as clinical waste and hands must be cleaned once they are taken off.

Gloves conforming to European Community (CE) Standards and of an acceptable quality must be available in all clinical areas.

Alternatives to natural rubber latex (NRL) gloves must be available for practitioners and patients sensitive to NRL.

Powdered and polythene gloves should not be used in health care activities.