Gloves are the most common type of personal protective equipment (PPE). Gloves are considered a barrier protecting both you and your patient from the transfer of harmful microorganisms. Always use gloves when you work on a patient. Hygienically prepare your hands before gloving and clean your hands again after removing the gloves and before moving on to your next patient. Gloves are absolutely essential when you have an existing cut or small wound on your own hand and when you are touching any bodily fluid/secretion/excretion.
The operating theater can be a messy/bloody/gutsy place. Surgeons often wear waterproof boots as a protective measure from contamination with blood, puss, amniotic fluid etc.
Boots for emergency workers
Boots should protect your feet. Steel toe are best for this purpose. It should be water-proof, flexible and they must be exactly the right size. They should also be able to protect you against cold weather and punctures. The soles of your boots must provide good traction to prevent you from slipping and sliding down slopes.
Shoe covers are important as they help maintain a sanitary environment by eliminating tracked-in dirt and microbes and they protect the wearer from accidental spills and bodily fluids. Always use shoe covers when entering the operating room or Intensive Care Unit. Alternatively use dedicated surgical boots or shoes.
Even clean recently washed hair is contaminated with loads of bacteria. The surgical cap minimizes the risk of hair falling into the sterile area during surgery. Ensure that all your hair is covered by the surgical cap before proceeding with scrubbing for surgery!
A face masks is worn as a barrier to protect the patient against the transfer of harmful microorganisms present in the healthcare professional?s saliva, nasal discharge and facial hair, and to protect the healthcare professional from being infected by microorganisms present in puss, blood, other body fluids, secretions (e.g. saliva) or excretions (e.g. feces) by the patient.
Medical professionals should wear a mask and eye protection or a visor (face shield) to protect mucous membranes of the eyes, nose and mouth during procedures and patient-care activities that are likely to cause splashes or sprays of blood, body fluids, secretions or excretions. Masks should be worn at all times in restricted areas of the Operating Room – where sterile supplies are opened and at scrub sinks. Masks with face shields or masks and protective eyewear are required whenever splash, spray or droplets of blood or other potentially infectious materials may be generated.
Some surgical procedures may become really ‘messy’ – thus the surgeon needs to protect him/herself by wearing a waterproof apron. Surgical procedures where a lot of bleeding of spill of bodily fluids like amniotic fluid e.g. during a Caesarian section are examples where an apron is needed.
Surgical gowns are considered one of the most important protective items during surgical procedures. Sterile surgical gowns play an essential role in maintaining aseptic conditions by blocking the transfer of harmful microorganisms and chemicals to and from the patient, and reducing the transfer of bacteria from the skin of the surgical staff to the air in the operating room.
Wearing surgical gowns and other medical apparel (e.g. surgical masks, gloves, etc.) is of utmost importance as there will always be microorganisms present on or in the human skin, even after conducting strict hygienic and surgical scrubbing procedures. The purpose of surgical gowns and other protective clothing is not only to keep bacteria from entering surgical wounds, but to also protect the surgical staff from bodily fluids, secretions or excretions like blood, urine, saline, or chemicals used and during surgical procedures.
PROJECT 00C – HOW TO SAFELY REMOVE CONTAMINATED GLOVES
SURGICALLY CLEAN AND STERILE GLOVES
Sterile gloves are always used in any sterile field/area while surgical clean gloves may be used for more routine medical and surgical tasks – purely as a barrier against microorganisms, contaminants and chemicals while performing tasks in a medical or healthcare environment.
Gloves are the most common type of personal protective equipment (PPE). Gloves are considered a barrier protecting both you and your patient from the transfer of harmful microorganisms. Always use gloves when you work on a patient. Gloves are absolutely essential when you have an existing cut or small wound on your own hand and when you are touching any bodily fluids, secretions and/or excretions.
Method on how to safely remove contaminated gloves
Pinch the glove on the inside of your left hand near the cuff
Pull and slide it inside out towards your fingertips
“Cup” it in your right hand
Now take two fingers from your left (ungloved) hand, slide them underneath the cuff
Pull it off making sure it comes off inside out
Keep on pulling until it slips off your hand.
Throw your gloves away in a biohazard bag or bin.
Points of Interest:
- Use non-latex gloves if you or your patient is allergic to latex (take a proper medical history – see Project 0 in the Apprentice Doctor Course)!
- Always use a pair of sterile gloves for all surgical procedures or where contamination with bodily fluids (e.g. blood), secretions (e.g. saliva) or excretions (e.g. urine) is anticipated.
- Use clean gloves when examining a patient or performing nursing tasks like changing dressings.
- Use gloves once only – never re-use gloves in a hospital setting.
- Wash your hands properly (Project 00A in the Apprentice Doctor course) before putting on gloves and after removing gloves.
- Always remove contaminated gloves using the above method.
- Always discard contaminated gloves in a dedicated refuse bin intended for contaminated medical waste (never place contaminated gloves in the regular waste bin).