The Dog Ate My Care Plan…

Just a mom/wife/nursing student extraordinaire trying to make it in the big bad city…

When In Doubt, Wear Gloves

Posted by isntshelovlei on June 19, 2010

Just when should you wear gloves? Usually the rule of thumb is to always wear gloves when there is a risk of coming into contact with blood, body fluids, or mucous membranes, and if either you or the patient has areas of broken skin.

So I had a patient this weekend—I nicknamed him Mr. Independent. He had a BKA (amongst a host of other things), and didn’t want anyone helping him do anything because he was damn well capable of doing it himself (a nice change from what one of my instructors describes as the patients with the “alligator arms”). So his primary nurse asked him to at least call one of us when he planned to transfer. He of course informed us (once more) that he had already been trained to transfer and had been doing so successfully (by himself) for over six months now. But he agreed to call. So when he did, I came in and of course I didn’t think that going from point A to point B would involve coming into contact with any body fluids. But one too swift move from Mr. Independent and all I saw was red. Blood running down his arm..in the spokes of his wheelchair…on the floor. He had pulled out his frickin’ IV. I silently panicked because I immediately thought “I’m not wearing gloves!!” but I kept it pretty calm, cool, and collected on the outside. I think I automatically switched into Mom-mode. I remember once my daughter decided to jump off the top bunk bed and my son screaming “MOOOOOOMMMM! She’s BLEEEE-DING!!!!” So I’ve seen my fair share of bumps, bruises, and blood. I calmly told Mr. Independent, “I need you to STAY right there and I will be right back.” I knew gloves were right outside the room, so I popped out, grabbed a pair, just so happened to spot his nurse in the hall, waved her in, and popped back in (now gloved) to put pressure on his IV site all in about 15 seconds. Move over Carl Lewis…

So while I don’t plan to wear gloves 24/7 when I’m in the hospital, I now definitely keep a pair in my pocket—along with all of those other what-every-nurse-should-carry-in-their-pockets items…like alcohol pads!

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One Response to “When In Doubt, Wear Gloves”

  1. Jennifer said

    I’m new to your blog (and enjoying it). I want to be a nurse, and this summer I’ve been job-shadowing at a local hospital. I guess I always thought that nowadays nurses wear gloves all the time when with a patient; I was kind of shocked that they don’t. Every time I watch a nurse I keep thinking, wow I would be scared not to do that without gloves. You know, just in case something like your scenario happened. 🙂

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