Helping to prevent cross infection, among patients, as far as possible, within the hospital setting is a task nurses are expected to facilitate.
This notion was recently amplified by embattled Director of Nursing Services (Matron), Sister Collene Hicks, during an interview with this publication.
Hicks, who has remained on the job despite being served with a letter of termination, recently listed the issue of cross infection, among a number of issues she claims are in need of urgent attention at the Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation (GPHC).
Addressing such issues, she stressed, would in fact help to improve the delivery of nursing care.
In making her point, Hicks disclosed that the wearing of scrubs by the nurses as a uniform, for instance is one that has gained her keen attention. She observed that a number of nurses, and non-nurse staffers too, at the GPHC, have adopted the practice of wearing scrub.
She has therefore theorized that “a nurse wearing a scrub as a uniform comes from home – off the street – and takes care of a patient, with no protective gear or anything, and the nurse is back on the road with the same clothes; we cannot have that…that is a public health risk”.
Hicks noted that this is in light of the fact, that infection cannot only be brought in from the outside, but infection within the hospital setting can be easily transmitted to the public by these scrub-wearing nurses.
She claims she had on several occasions voiced her concerns about this state of affairs. She also disclosed that nurses had, in the recent past, made representation for scrubs to become their official hospital wear. But according to Hicks, “I cannot dictate for the nurses to wear scrubs as a uniform because the uniform monies were already paid for them to buy uniform.”
She however noted that for this to happen it must be done in a strategic manner. Moreover, Hicks said that nurses at the Accident and Emergency Unit had for years been wearing scrubs as uniforms in the appropriate manner.
“They came to work, they put on their scrubs and protective gear and they do their work.”
The practice by other nurses to wear their scrubs in, as well as out, of the hospital environment without protective gears is, however, one that is not being condoned by Hicks.
She pointed out that even if they opt to wear scrubs, they must wear protective gear and take off such gear in a special way so as to prevent contamination.
“We don’t need a recommendation to say this should not happen, because it is already wrong,” said Hicks as she reiterated that although her concerns were vocalized nothing has happened to halt this risky practice.
“Things are just going back and forth and back and forth but nothing is happening….it has been raised at various levels of meeting; I have raised this with many categories of nurses and nursing personnel who fall under my care and I have emphasized the reason why they should dress in a particular manner as nurses – not only for their protection, but that of the patients, the public and their families,” Hicks emphasised.
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