Thursday, August 6, 2009

Why I Sanitize

I always apply what I learned in OR Nursing back in school - whenever in doubt, consider the thing unsterile. I have practiced Nursing for the longest time now, and I have not changed.

Can you imagine the plight of germs, in let's say, a pen? A co-worker forgets his pen and borrows yours to jot down the vital signs. She has not washed her hands yet, and has just come out of a room of someone with MRSA of the sputum. Then she returns the pen, not to you, but puts it on a desk, where an enterprising doctor who has just sneezed suddenly grabs it to read the brand.

Eeeeww. Poor pen!

What about the shoes? The housekeepers make sure the floors are vacuumed, sanitized, mopped, sparkling to a T! But how many pairs of shoes walk and run in the halls? How many EMTs wheel in stretchers, how many wheelchairs roll past? You walk in a room where a resident has recently vomited on the floor, although the vomitus has already been cleaned out. But what was used to clean it out? What if it was done in haste it being a weekend and the supplies just ran out? Ugh!

What about spectacles and sweaters, and uniforms? Perfect hosts for all sorts of bodily fluids! Take the tiny amount of blood as you did the labs in the morning, accidentally dripping over your sleeve as you slide the plastic tube over the butterfly. Or the urine that splashes on your pants as you undo the catheter? Or even the feeding tube you're trying to unclog but which decides to spew undigested food back to God knows what part of your anatomy? Let's not even mention what conditions/diagnoses the patients have.

For twelve hours.

Let's stop there.

Nursing is a good job, it is a fulfilling happy, gooey job. Stinky, pleasant, funny job. Hair-raising, gut-spilling, faithful job. And I love it, love it, love it. That's why I wash my hands in between patients, before and after a task.

And I sanitize before I leave. My glasses, badge and rosary are treated to warm running water and soap. My pens and similar accoutrement, with Cavicide, including the pencil case. My shoes I remove before entering the car, and go straight to a shoebox where they are sprayed with Lysol. I wear slippers in the car. The car gets Lysol treatment after I get off, and I go straight to the laundry room, AFTER I enter the house with the hems of my pants rolled up. My duty bag and lunchbag have their special place, and my scrubs go straight to the washer. Then I run to the shower before I kiss all my boys. P.S. Nothing wrong with jewelry, but for obvious reasons, I don't wear any to work.

I am not alone, I can already tell you that. I have friends who strip right in their garages. Another one keeps her laundry (scrubs) in a bag outside the house. (I also keep a separate bag just for scrubs when I can't wash right away.)

No telling what virus or bacterium or fungus is on the loose, and can't take risks!

What about you? What do you do, and do you feel the need to sanitize like I do? Come share!

(Photo source: Public Domain


Willie said...

I COuldn't see blood. That's why I am not into medical profession. Ahaks!

cherie said...

willie, i fainted TWICE, as a student, and was seriously thought of to quit nursing school before freshman year was up, lol!

Droomvla said...

euwwwww,how graphic. you know when I was in indonesia, they call me ms. lysol there because i always spray lysol on chairs, shoes, doorknobs, even musical instruments. lol a friend thought it was a mental disorder so i stopped doing it! hahahahaha

buday said...

Ay kapagal daw sadi, hahaha! Dapat palan ikaw an magpatalastas sa Safeguard.

Icy BC said...


You're super to think about the health of your family in such a thorough "cleaned up" before doing anything else..

Sol said...

amu daw..... kaya sabi mo baga encourage ko daughter ko mag nursing, nag duwa duwa ako kay amu na ngani ina na isturya mo, bagan kaparagal baya....pero, try ko man gihapon....ambot daw kun tumuod sa akon takot sa gadan hehehehe...

happyone said...

It's good that you take so many precautions being a nurse. Everyone in the medical field should be as methodical as you are.

I wash my hands many many times a day!

Anonymous said...

I never ever touch toilet door handles (not to be confused with toilet doors, which I do close when using the lavatory)when exiting the washroom area. I always use a piece of tissue. I do know of people who don't wash their hands after they're done with their business. Eeks. Having hand sanitizer on hand is a good thing.

Dawn said...

My husband works in medical care and he always sanitizes himself before interacting with the rest of the house.

betchai said...

i understand your concern to sanitize Che, I too have my sanitizer wherever I go. when I go to supermarket, i see to it i grab a sanitizing wipes first and wipe the handle of the cart and the sides, though i do not touch the handle of the cart, i touch the sides since most people use the handle, nevertheless i sanitize all parts that i may be able to touch. after wiping, i wrap the part where i will put my hand to push the cart with sanitizing wipes! like mei, i do not touch public bathroom doors, i use a tissue when i have to use my hands to open. i even use paper towel to open a faucet :) and when I wash my hands, i put soap on paper towel and wipe the faucet handle and rinse with water despite i will not touch it for the sake of those who will be using next. i am always glad to see it is not only me doing it, many others too :) I even sanitize my keyboard before and after using it :) however, we can not avoid really touching many things, so, I just avoid touching face. so, you are not alone Che, and I do not even work in nursing but I think of the world around me with flying microbes ready to attack and weaken my cells :(

Middle Ditch said...

Frightening isn't it? All those little germs you can't see but who are there. Keyboards are also a main holder and, as you so rightfully say, so is a pen. Basic cleanliness in the house is my answer and at my work, where I deal with many people, everything is sterilized on a daily basis but even then, someone can be lax, and before you know it the whole workplace is infected. Scary.

Whitemist said...

Just think Cherrie - I work in a lab - a BT2 lab - where we get to work with all kinds of interesting things - that includes potentiel Anthrax, cholera, E. Coli, MERSA, Staph, Enterococcus, strep and an assorted bunch of other uglies. That combined with all the chemicals I end up working with makes my work life, well interesting! While hand washing is a extremely regular thing (we have 4 sinks) my best friends are Alcohol and chlorox! That and the BT3 hood!
I think the funniest thing is that we do not even think it unusual to wash up to our elbows 30 times a day and we do not say we get parinoid when we leave, but I wash an awful lot without even thinking when I am cooking dinner.

cherie said...

maris: heheh, graphic man nanggad. funny they thought you were deranged - they still do me, haha! no, don't stop.

melodie: amo, nan si aris, mr. clean, haha!

Icy: thank you! i do my best, and hope not to let them down! :)

ms. happyone: i agree, ma'am. first line of prevention - handwashing! hugs!

sol: sabi ko ngani nagdurudismayo pa ako, mala, kinaya man, i-encourage lang an batit mo. :)

mei teng: atta girl, haha! tissue for public doors - me, too! thanks heaps for the drop by! :)

dawn: fan of the sanitizer myself! kudos to your husband, ma'am! hugs!

beth: ako rin, beth! tables, doorknos, phones, toys, name it! grocery carts, car door handles, all of them, hahah! nothing beats cleanliness! :)

ms. monique of middleditch: that's right, ma'am, scary! i even wash my face after i come out of particular patient rooms, and i don't wear lip balm or lip gloss because of all the coughing, etc., ugh! love my patients but gotta stay healthy to take care of them! :)

now then, sir whitemist, you're the winner, hahah! i can't even begin to formulate my reply! :) i hope you take super care of yourself!!!! yeah, wash those elbows!!

thank you all so much! the sharing was excellent, i enjoyed each of them a lot! stay healthy! :)

Thistle Cove Farm said...

You'll laugh but I'm going to tell you anyway...when I use public facilities, I always tear off the first bit of toilet tissue and throw it away. Who knows what was on someone's hands as they used it last? As antibiotics become less and less useful, we need to become more aware of keeping germs at bay.
Thanks for this post, Cherie, very good and useful!

cherie said...

hello, ms. sandra: oh, but you are right - we never know! i'm smiling, (you've probably guessed), but in truth, i am also wary of these tissues in public toilets! you're most welcome, ma'am. i had an inspiration.

rainfield61 said...

I couldn't comment on this post yesterday, I thought there was some errors on your blog. But quite a surprise to see 15 comments are published.
And I am not able to comment on your latest post. Sigh.

cherie said...

oh, rainfield, i'm sorry! i experienced a technical error myself! google said something that i understood to be traffic, and i was sorely disappointed, even i couldn't access my own post! well, everything's okay now and your comment's here. can't wait to read what you have to say about the butterfly! thank you, rainfield!

Thistle Cove Farm said...

And I forgot to say I carry hand sanitizer in my purse and have one in every vehicle including the Ranger farm UTV. My hand lotion in the car has sanitizer in it and when I travel I always have a small bottle of hand sanitizer and wipes.

BTW, do you know, Cherie, how to get your blog on my side bar? I can't remember how to add blogs to my sidebar and it's...finishing... driving me KRAZY.

cherie said...

ms s! haha - i wrote to you in your mailbox - let me chase your other comment and reply over there...btw, big carrier of sanitizers and lotion, too! lol

Elle Bee said...

Kudos to you! I hope all nurses have your positive attitude, sweet spirit and attention to detail! You have a beautiful blog.

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