Frequently Asked Questions
 
THERE IS A SIGN OUTSIDE THE PATIENT'S ROOM THAT STATES ''DO NOT ENTER WITHOUT ADVICE FROM THE NURSE". AM I ALLOWED TO ENTER THE PATIENT'S ROOM?

The sign alerts everyone to patients who are infected with or colonizing an infectious organism. Individuals entering the room must follow the appropriate infection control procedures. By notifying the nurse before entering an infected patient's room, appropriate infection control procedures will be utilized to control the spread of the infection.


HOW DO I KNOW I'M FOLLOWING THE PROPER PROCEDURES WHEN I'M PERFORMING NURSING CARE?
The care plan of each patient diagnosed with an infectious disease or potential colonization contains the appropriate infection control procedures to guide the nurse. Also, each hospital unit has procedure manuals containing infection control procedures that guide nursing interventions. Ask your nursing instructor for direction.


HOW DO I KNOW WHICH PATIENT IS INFECTED?

Not knowing when someone has an infection or is harboring an infectious agent is common in a hospital setting. We often learn of the presence of an infectious agent after providing care. We protect ourselves and others by following principles of medical asepsis and standard precautions which include universal precautions and body substance isolation.


HOW DO I PROTECT MYSELF FROM BECOMING INFECTED?

Following standard precautions and medical asepsis with all patients helps to prevent contamination from an unknown source. When the infectious agent is known, specific isolation techniques are followed. The most important self-protective technique is hand washing before and after care of a patient. When a nurse is ill and comes in contact with an infectious agent, the nurse becomes a susceptible host and more vulnerable and available to the infectious agent. The nurse learns to use good judgement about personal health needs and when it is necessary to take a sick day.Go to External Links page


WHAT DOES MRSA MEAN?
Methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) is a microbe that adapted to changes in the environment to compete for survival. Staphylococcus aureus, a common organism, developed resistance to medication. Patients infected with the resistant strain may remain infected or colonized for long periods. The main mode of transmission is via the hands of the health care worker. It is important to understand the appropriate method of protection and control when providing nursing care for someone infected with MRSA.Go to External Links page MRSA is a common cause of nosocomial infection.


WHAT DOES IT MEAN WHEN THE PATIENT'S CARE PLAN HAS VRE WRITTEN ACROSS THE TOP?
Vancomycin resistant Enterococcus (VRE) is an organism that resists the effects of the antibiotic Vancomycin. For many patients infected with VRE, there is no known effective medication. VRE is one of the common causes of nosocomial infection and is easily transmitted on the hands of the health care worker. It is important to utilize appropriate nursing intervention to control the spread of VRE.Go to External Links page