When you work in a hospital, you play an integral part in infection control. Every employee within the facility must use universal precautions at all times, meaning that all bodily fluids must be handled as if they contain infectious diseases. Even visitors to the hospital should wash their hands upon entering, and be careful about touching surfaces throughout the hospital. Sterilization reduces or eliminates the chances of spreading an infection, and this is particularly necessary in operating rooms. Patients who are lying in an operating room under general anesthesia are prone to infections. Their resistance is lowered, especially at the site of any surgical incisions.
Handwashing, Gloves, and Sharps Disposal
As you walk around the hospital, your hands touch everything. From doorknobs, to patients, and equipment, your hands are constantly coming into contact with germs that are potentially dangerous to patients with a lowered immune system. Washing your hands is still one of the most effective ways to avoid spreading germs from your hands to a patient. You must be vigilant about washing your hands before you touch a patient, and wear gloves for added protection. In addition, you must always know how sharp objects are disposed of in your facility and follow all proper protocols. When you wash your hands, wear gloves and discard sharps appropriately, you are stopping the spread of infection.
Cleaning, Disinfection, and Sterilization
The cleaning methods established by your facility are there to remove dirt and bodily fluids, to get rid of any infections within the area, and to sterilize all surfaces and equipment so that they are safe to use once again. If any of the steps are missed in this process, the room can be contaminated. For example, if an operating room isn't properly sterilized, nothing in the room is deemed safe for the patient to be near. While the entire hospital needs to be clean and sterile, it is most important for operating rooms to be completely sterile.
Patient Safety During an Operation
Harmful infections can occur while in an operating room. The individual may be cut wide open, and instruments are used that can introduce dangerous organisms right into the body of the person being operated on. To help control the spread of infection, traffic in and out of the room is limited, and anyone working in the room is mandated to wear protective clothing that helps control infectious diseases. In addition, they will follow a hand scrubbing routine that gets rid of harmful bacteria on the hands and arms.