Contact Precautions in Nursing

Nursing is a job that involves a lot of risk especially that nurses come in close proximity of patients in order to assist them. Nurses are exposed to bacteria that can be deadly, and without proper contact precautions they may spread to other patients or other people nurses come in contact with. In NCLEX review classes, a nurse may certainly be reminded of these precautions.


Center for Disease Control (CDC) Guidelines


There are special guidelines that the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) requires for handling contagious cases. Details of these guidelines are found in the Siegel-Rhinehart, Jackson and Chiarello’s 2007 Guideline for Isolation Precautions: Preventing Transmission of Infectious Agents in Healthcare Settings. One of the many guidelines included in this is posting a warning sign on the door of a patient with his or her contagious diagnosis.


Nursing students are taughtthe basic precautions to protect themselves and their patients from contact, airborne, and droplet transmission of bacteria. Information such as this most typically will be one of the NCLEX questions.


The following are examples of contagious diseases:

•    Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA)
•    Clostridium difficle (Cdiff)
•    Vancomycin resistant enterococcus (VRE)
•    respiratory synctial virus (RSV)
•    typhoid
•    smallpox
•    hepatitis A


The diseases mentioned can be transferred through direct-contact transmission such as skin-to-skin contact. It happens by transferring these microorganisms to a new susceptible host from a person already infected. Another way would be indirect-contact transmission. Indirect-contact transmission involves transferring the disease through contaminated objects in the infected person’s environment. Examples of items that are most susceptible to indirect-contact transmission are clothing, stethoscopes, and blood pressure cuffs, call light, bed rails, and surfaces.This information also may or may not appear in one of the NCLEX RN questions.


Improving Compliance


Contact precautions comprise of isolating the patient in a private room or with another patient with the same disease. Even the simplest task of washing hands is habitually difficult to implement all throughout the hospital so healthcare professionals need to wear gown and gloves to protect themselves and their patients. Consequently, it is difficult to get everyone to follow these standard precautionary guidelines for specific contact precautions. NCLEX review classes may remind their reviewers of all the precautionary measures that have to be taken. Because of this, it will come to no surprise if it will be included in one of the NCLEX questions.


Consistency is the key in order to prevent the spread of these germs. It should go hand in hand with the priority of having the patient gain full recovery since preventing another person from getting sick should be a priority in itself. This, however, can only happen if we have total support from all levels of health care including upper management, charge nurses and the administration.


As with many other sectors, communication is very important in nursing not only with patients but with staff as well. Full compliance with contact precautions in nursing may be brought about by holding regular staff education and training sessions and giving educational materials and proper equipment.


Improving health can be assisted by teaching families or visitors that they also play a vital role in stopping the spread of the disease. It would greatly benefit everyone if signs or placing pamphlets outside doors were placed.


These compliances should be inculcated into nursing students from the beginning since it is up to them to spread the knowledge of contact precautions to nursing clinical. Knowing the fact that this is basic knowledge, it will come to know surprise if it’s included in one of the NCLEX RN questions.


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