Asepsis and Care of the Surgical Patient
Nursing Interventions Related to Asepsis and Care of the Surgical Patient
Please describe nursing interventions related to asepsis and care of the surgical patient, and are the interventions working.?
Nursing Interventions Related to Asepsis and Care of the Surgical Patient
Infection control is a critical element in the provision of quality healthcare services. Infection prevention techniques focus on the reduction or the elimination of the sources and transmission of infection. The practices protect the patients and health care providers from health care-acquired infections (HAIs). Nurses play a pivotal role in preventing and controlling infections in the health care setting. The implementation and support of infection prevention practices considers the threatening fact that all patients in the health care setting are at a significant risk of becoming infected or colonized following the impairment of their immune response, exposure to infectious pathogens, and health care services that include invasive procedures. Effective infection control focuses on achieving asepsis. Koutoukidis, Lawrence, and Tabbner (2008) define asepsis as the elimination of bacteria and harmful microorganism through the application of different techniques that prevent the spread of microorganisms. Effectiveness in the application of the aseptic techniques and asepsis promotes the quality of care and safety.
Asepsis, Nursing Interventions, and Care of the Surgical Patient
Nurses apply the medical and surgical asepsis to promote asepsis and prevent infections and HAIs. The application of the aseptic techniques ensures the creation and maintenance of an enabling environment for the provision of quality and safe service through the reduction or elimination of disease-producing microorganisms. Additionally, the techniques use practices that prevent the transfer of the organisms thus limiting the chances of infection. According to Perry, Potter, and Ostendorf (2016), medical asepsis incorporates procedures for the reduction of the number of and prevention of the spread of the microorganisms. The surgical asepsis technique (also called the sterile technique) focuses on the elimination of all microorganisms from a specified area. The integration of the techniques in the delivery of health care services allows nurses to prevent the spread of or contraction of infections in the health care facilities (Storch Borges & Machado Ferreira, 2016). The techniques require the incorporation of different interventions whose discussion offers insight into the topic.
Hand hygiene, use of barrier techniques such as masks, gloves, and gowns, and frequent environmental cleaning are some of the asepsis procedures that nurses use to achieve asepsis. According to Levada (2015), hand hygiene is one of the most effective ways of preventing contamination and the spread of infections in the health care setting. The application of the aseptic measure reduces the rates of HAIs significantly. Therefore, it is an effective intervention in promoting the health and wellbeing of the patient in the course of delivery of care by preventing or reducing the probability of infection. The incorporation of the other interventions boosts asepsis greatly and plays an important role in eliminating microorganisms and preventing infections (Yoost & Crawford, 2015). Handwashing, applying the barrier techniques, and ensuring a clean and an effective environment are essential and effective interventions. Nurses depend greatly on the interventions in offering care services. According to Storch Borges and Machado Ferreira (2016), integrating the surgical asepsis interventions such as creating sterile environments, sterilizing the equipment, and following the surgical principles of asepsis contributes considerably towards eliminating infections.
Nurses use the surgical aseptic techniques in the provision of care to patients after surgical operations and at the patient’s bedsides. Koutoukidis, Lawrence, and Tabbner (2008) state that procedures that involve intentional perforations of the skin must include the surgical technique. Nurses apply the sterile aseptic technique in cases such as during the insertion of the intravenous catheter. Asepsis in the process prevents infections occurring on the insertion. Moreover, nurses apply the surgical technique in cases where the skin’s integrity is broken mainly during dressing of burns, injuries, or surgical incisions, and in cases of insertion of devices. The different situations require keenness in the provision of the services due to the high risk of infection. The application of the surgical technique plays an important role in preventing possible infection. The effectiveness of the intervention is shown in Storch and Ferreira (2016) who argue that following the interventions articulately reduces the chances of infection and the transfer of infections within and without the health care facility significantly.
The medical asepsis principles guide nurses in the provision of care to minimize cases of HAIs. Hand hygiene remains central in the principles, where health care providers are encourages to perform hand hygiene using water and soap or effective hand antiseptic. The principle is termed critical to the provision of quality and safe patient care and the prevention of infections. The determination of the patients’ susceptibility to infections by considering factors such as age, disease processes, health history, stress, nutritional status, and the medical therapies among others is important. Moreover, consistence in the application of the aseptic principles of care, chain infection analysis, and the protection of the users of the health care services and other health care providers from infection are critical principles of medical asepsis. The integration of the methods improves efficiency in addressing the issue of HAIs thus prove that they are working (Koutoukidis, Lawrence, & Tabbner, 2008).
The use of surgical/sterile asepsis allows the elimination of microorganisms and, therefore, hinders any possibility of an infection. The techniques applies mainly in obstetric areas, in the operating room, special treatment areas such as in the intensive care unit or the burns unit, and other procedural areas. The maintenance of asepsis using the sterile technique requires the application of the surgical asepsis principles (Perry, Potter, & Ostendorf, 2016). The principles of surgical asepsis ensure asepsis when nurses create the sterile field and add the necessary paraphernalia for the performance of the procedures. Some of the critical principles include the preservation of sterility by touching a sterile item with another sterilised item. For example, nurses ensure that after the creation of asepsis, the items are moved or touched using other sterile items to avoid the transfer of infectious pathogens. Picking up a sterile dressing, for example, may require using the sterile forceps and so forth. Additionally, nurses must ensure that nothing that is not sterilized comes into contact with the sterile objects (Koutoukidis, Lawrence, & Tabbner, 2008).
Other principles include the prevention of contamination by regarding any sterilize item that comes into contact with another that is not sterile contaminated, any object held below the care provider’s waist or out of vision is considered contaminated, and considering items exposed for long to air contaminated. The principles minimize the risk of using contaminated items in the process of delivering the surgical or care services (Koutoukidis, Lawrence, & Tabbner, 2008). For example, touching a sterile object with ungloved hands by the care providers requires the categorization of the item as contaminated. Ferreira de Oliveira Padilha, et al. (2016) state that the principles are critical in the promotion of the quality of services by preventing the possibility of HAIs. Apart from the mentioned principles, other principles include considering the edges of the sterile field contaminated, considering the field contaminated if it becomes wet, and discarding any items if there is doubt about possible contamination. These principles ensure the achievement of asepsis and the delivery of care without the risk of infection.
Nurses may use the surgical scrub as an intervention to eliminate any bacteria and prevent infections while caring for surgical patients at the bedside. The application of the hand wash happens before the performance of the care procedures especially when it involves the penetration of the tissues such as during the intravenous (IV) catheter among others (Koutoukidis, Lawrence, & Tabbner, 2008). The application of the intervention proves effective in eliminating all microorganisms and preventing infection during the procedure. The standard procedure before the application of the scrub includes putting on the cap, shoe covers, and a mask to aid the provision of quality services. The nurse washes the hands, nails, and the forearms sufficiently with running water and soap if the option of water and soap is preferred. Handwashing or scrubbing should take at least 3-5 minutes and rinsing should occur until hands are completely clean. The intervention works effectively in preventing infections from spreading (Koutoukidis, Lawrence, & Tabbner, 2008).
Sterile gowns and gloves are a
necessity when nurses offer surgical patient care. These intervention act as
barriers to the transfer of infection-causing microorganisms from the skin the
contact areas and the air. The methods are effective in reducing infections. The
nurses put the gowns and the gloves after putting on their caps and
handwashing. The general procedure includes applying the mask and the cap, scrubbing
hands or handwashing, picking up the sterile gown without contamination, and having
putting it on with assistance to avoid contamination. The intervention methods
work effectively in promoting safety of care and preventing infections (Koutoukidis, Lawrence,
& Tabbner, 2008; Perry, Potter, & Ostendorf, 2016).
Ferreira de Oliveira Padilha, J. M., Chaves Sá, S. P., de Souza, S. R., Brum, A. K., Rosa Lima, M. V., & Guimarães, T. F. (2016). Glove use in nursing practice and its implications: a methodological study. Online Brazilian Journal of Nursing, 15(4), 632-643.
Koutoukidis, G., Lawrence, K., & Tabbner, A. R. (2008). Tabbner’s nursing care: theory and practice. Chatswood, N.S.W.: Elsevier Australia.
Levada, L. (2015). Asepsis: the vanguard of infection control. ACORN: The Journal of Perioperative Nursing In Australia, 28(3), 42-43.
Perry, A. G., Potter, P. A., & Ostendorf, W. (2016). Nursing interventions & clinical skills. St. Louis, Missouri: Elsevier.
Storch Borges, E., & Machado Ferreira, S. C. (2016). Relevant actions in the control of surgical site infections in neurosurgery: an integrative review. Online Brazilian Journal of Nursing, 15(4), 735-745.
Yoost, B. L., & Crawford, L. R. (2015). Fundamentals of Nursing: Active Learning for Collaborative Practice. New York: Mosby.