Thursday, May 15, 2014

Dirty Secrets

I had some fun with the infection control nurse, a pompous and self righteous D-bag,  who harangued us with the usual hand washing stuff.  I asked about disinfection of things like stethoscopes, and she rather snidely told me that, of course, they should be routinely disinfected, before launching into a lecture on precautions, MRSA, and disposable stethoscopes.

I was bored.  So I started it.

Me: "Mmm-hmm.  What about ID badges?  Do you have any policy on disinfecting those?  I mean, they are at chest height, in the sneeze and cough zone, dangle onto patient's skin, onto sheets, they go to every patient room and are never washed or disinfected…it seems to me they would be just a germ farm".  I pointedly glanced at her ID badge, on a nylon lanyard, which was covered with 27 pieces of flair.

Blank stare.  She was gob-smacked.  "I've never thought of that".

Yeah. ID badges are filthy things.  Think about it.  Along with watches, rings, bracelets (which I never wear to work) and neckties on the men.

Name badges are mandatory.  It goes everywhere the nurse goes.   It gets touched 150 times per day because they always flip around so that my various passwords are showing instead of my name.   It gets handled and scanned for glucometers and to enter/exit certain areas.  It is used for the time clock.  It goes into the bathroom, the poopy patient's room, and the cafeteria.  Into.  Every.  Patient.  Room.

Yesterday I had a horrifying thought.  BWOM hospital issues clip-on visitor badges, which are never, to my knowledge, washed or disinfected.

Eeew.

Just so you know, I do bleach-wipe my name badge every day.  Always have.  Always will.  
And now you will, too.

You're welcome.

7 comments:

Lil mighty RN said...

Our ASM I is rather crafty and has made adornments for our ID badge clips. Flowers. Bad side is that patients are always touching it too get a closer look

EDNurseasauras said...

Yeah, someone started that at my hospital. The flowers are made from the flip-off caps from med vials that are glue-gunned onto a retractable badge holder. They come in all colors! They are dead cute. But I still get a new retractable clip about once a month; they give them away for free in the badge office. I have about a year's worth hidden away.

Aesop said...

You're a right troublemaker you are.

One of the security guards noted out loud that I was the only nurse on nights (out of 70 or so) they saw at Callous Bastard Hospital do a nightly disinfect on the cupful of sign-in pens and plastic clipboards in outside waiting room triage.
The ones every sick patient picks up and fondles to fill out their entry paperwork.

Infection Control wants us to handwash more frequently.

I want a Level A encapsulating bio-HAZMAT suit.

I think my preference would cut down more on using the ER for non-acute and non-serious complaints.

EDNurseasauras said...

Aesop, i routinely disinfect my pens. Occasionally I just throw them out. I can't bear the thought infectious individuals fondling a cupful of pens.

Nurse Kitty said...

The other night I watched an RT walk into an isolation room with a pen stuck in her bun, then walk out with it in hand. Make it worse I look over later and she's nibbling on the end of it while she does paper work. GAH!!!

EDNurseasauras said...

Oh kitty I just threw up in my mouth

Shrtstormtrooper said...

Ugh. Whenever I'm in triage, I use about an entire bottle of purple wipes to clean every surface I can get to. Seeing people sneeze, wipe their nose with their hands, and then immediately pick up a pen to sign in with "Snizng Hed Could" is one of the most disgusting things EVAR.