The risk of infection that a patient is exposed to while in medical facilities has been recognized for years now. This risk is even higher for patients undergoing surgical procedures. However, effective antimicrobial agents have been developed and have consequently helped to suppress health care infections. Additionally, recent technological advancements have increased the chances of health care infection for patients in need of delicate medical care such as surgery, and also out patients (Wilson, 2006).
The risk for infection is high in patients undergoing treatment because of their weak immune systems. Wilson (2006) stipulates that patients are exposed to many infections while in health care facilities. Moreover, the hospital setting is an ecosystem of infections, which can reach a patient through a number of ways (Wilson, 2006).
The patient is at risk of infection by contact with other patients, but most likely, through contact with health care professionals. The risk of infection from patients is the highest since some patients are infected. This calls for infection control Policies since everyone is at risk in the healthcare facility. The health care professionals are the people in charge of eradicating infections, and treating patients. Therefore, the patient is vulnerable to infections through patient-nurse contact or patient-doctor contact (Wilson, 2006).
Role of the nurse in health care
Nursing practices are the activities that individuals are educated, and registered as qualified nurses, to carry out in professional practice. The range of activities and duties required of a nurse is determined by nursing associations, colleges and the government. The regulations outline that registered nurses may practice nursing. Nursing in this case refers to the health profession in which an individual renders services in health care, such as prevention of infections, restoring health, maintaining health and treatment, and palliation of diseases and injuries via assessment of the health status, planning, evaluation, and implementation of interventions, as well as coordination of health services. Overall, clinical practice, administration, education, and research are also considered as an essential part of practice for registered nurses (Manivannan, 2008). Nurses are guided by various guidelines through a code of conduct to ensure that adherence to patient safety is maintained. Through NMC guidelines, it is possible to evaluate the nurses’ practice, ethics as well as performance. In addition, nurses provide direct care to patients visiting health care centres. It is their responsibility to guide the patient throughout their stay at the health care centre. Therefore, nurses are responsible for maintaining hygiene while treating the patients, as well as education and guiding the patients who may be at risk to themselves and others on how to maintain hygiene (Miers et al, 2009).
Registered nurses employ their knowledge, skills, and judgment to carry out diverse roles and responsibilities such as coordinating, supervising, monitoring, and evaluating the provision of health services. Registered nurses (RNs) usually employ nursing knowledge and judgment in assessing health needs and providing care to patients. Registered nurses facilitate interventions within a range of settings that require considerable scientific and professional knowledge, skills, and clinical decision making (Manivannan, 2008). Similarly, RNs may utilize their expertise to manage, teach, evaluate, and conduct research within nursing practice.
The role of inter-professional teamwork in infection control
The nurses play a very significant role in their careers as nurses to ensure that that inter-professional teams coordinate well during patient care. Patients can be exposed in danger as a result of poor inter-professional co-ordination and collaboration. Therefore, it is imperative for communication skills and co-ordination between nursing teams to be improved. To achieve a safe working environment, effective inter-professional coordination is required (Miers et al, 2009).
The measures should be incorporated in future nursing and doctorate curricula, to boost the competency of future medical practitioners including nurses, pharmacists, doctors and other physicians (Ann et al, 2003). (Manivannan, 2008) uncovered a link between poor communication, collaboration of medical practitioners, and fatal medical errors. If this link is eradicated, communication between the medical practitioner and the patient can help reduce the risk of infection transfer from patient to patient, or otherwise.
Furthermore, this practice should be administered by the infection control nurse, who is responsible of sensitizing the entire healthcare community about the risks involved in not maintaining a proper hygiene (Ann et al, 2003). This role of a health care infection control specialist is necessary because of the rising number of healthcare related infections and cases. Because of this, the infection control specialist should also ensure that infections and risks that could lead to the spread of infections are identified, analysed and prevented accordingly (Ann et al, 2003).
Conclusively, it is important to note that everyone is partly responsible for HCRIs, and, therefore, should take responsibility while attending healthcare centres. It is also important that medical practitioners observe all required ethics and protocols to ensure that they are not responsible for transferring healthcare infections. Improvements should be made in healthcare facilities to reduce the standing rate of healthcare infections, and non-adherence to safety procedures.
Ann C. Greiner, Elisha, Eds, Institute of medicine Committee on Health professions Education summit, health Professions education: DC (2003) A bridge of Quality, Washington, National Academies Press.
Manivannan, G. (2008). Disinfection and decontamination: principles, applications and related issues. Boca Raton, CRC Press/Taylor & Francis Group.
Miers, Margaret; Pollard, Katherine. 2009. The role of nurses in inter-professional health and social care teams: Margaret Miers and Katherine Pollard discuss a study of how health and social care professionals view collaboration. Journal of nursing management , 31, (5) pp. 2-8
Wilson, J. 2006. Infection Control in Clinical Practice, Elsevier Health Sciences, 3th Ed. New Jersey: Prentice Hall.