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Good Infection Control

Steven works in the post-surgical care unit at Riverbend Hospital. As a nursing assistant, he is responsible for checking vital signs, grooming, meal assistance, and patient comfort, among other areas. Because of the kind of patients and their conditions, Steven must practice excellent infection control practices.

On a recent day, a new patient, Sally, was admitted after surgery to remove a cancerous tumor in her abdomen. Her post-op care included IVs, a catheter, and pain medication. When Steven walked into Sally’s room to do a vital signs check, the first thing he did was wash his hands. While taking Sally’s vital signs, he asked her how she was feeling. She told him that her incision felt uncomfortable. She couldn’t explain any further what she meant and asked him to take a look. Before examining the surgical area, Steven put on a pair of gloves. Although he would probably not be touching the incision, he wanted to take care in case he accidently touched the area.

When Steven looked at the incision area, he noticed that the tape holding the gauze bandage in place had crumpled and was pulling at the skin. Because his hands were gloved, Steven was able to touch the tape and try to smooth it out. When that didn’t work, he assured Sally that he would take care of the problem, but he would have to leave for a few minutes. As he left, he took off his gloves and put them in the appropriate receptacle.

When Steven returned, he had tape. After putting on fresh gloves, he gently removed the tape on Sally’s abdomen and replaced it with a new strip of tape after examining the incision for infection. The nurse came in, put on her own pair of gloves to examine the bandage, and told Steven he had done a good job. Sally thanked Steven, saying that the uncomfortable feeling was gone.

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© 2015 by Southwest Adult Basic Education

Project made financially possible through grants from:

Southwest Initiative Foundation, Marshall Community Foundation, Southwest Regional Transition Partners, Southwest Adult Basic Education, Marshall Healthcare Partners