Discuss the Following “Infection Prevention is Every Healthcare Professional’s Responsibility”

Topics: Patient, Health care provider, Health care Pages: 7 (2313 words) Published: April 21, 2014
This essay is to discuss the statement: ‘Infection prevention is every healthcare professional’s responsibility’. In order to identify the healthcare professional’s responsibility the author will be drawing from three different sources including documents from the Department of Health, the Nursing and Midwifery Council’s code of conduct and the Royal College of Nursing. After this, the essay will talk about two different practises that healthcare professionals can use to break the chain of infection. These will include the use of personal protective equipment (PPE) and the importance of hand washing and the impact these practises have on infection prevention. The essay will then focus on how such high standards of infection prevention can cause psychosocial repercussions on the patient and how visitors can have a compromising effect on healthcare professional’s efforts to break the chain of infection.

The Department of Health (DoH), the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) and the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) all provide documents and guidelines for the public to read about the role of the healthcare professional. They are all put in place to safeguard the public, the workers, and to help professionals deliver the highest quality service to the service users. It is possible to relate a lot of these documents and guidelines to infection prevention. These services have made it clear that infection prevention is every healthcare professional’s responsibility through their policies and guidelines. In the NMC’s Code of Conduct at the chapter on keeping knowledge and skills up to date, number thirty-eight of the code states ‘you must have the knowledge and skills for safe and effective practise when working without direct supervision’ (Nursing and Midwifery Council, 2008). This is important because if the healthcare professional’s knowledge and skills were not up to date then they would not understand common illnesses, causes or the most effective way to prevent them. This would therefore put the service users at risk and the healthcare professional could be held accountable. The RCN promotes good practise by setting eight main principles for professionals to take guidance from. Principle C states, ‘Nurses and nursing staff manage risk, are vigilant about risk, and help to keep everyone safe in places they receive healthcare’ (Royal College of Nursing, 2010). This is an important element of safe and effective care and provides an understanding for the public and workers that infection is a risk that all health care professionals must be vigilant about and it is the workers as well as the public’s responsibility to make their best efforts to control it. The Department of Health creates legislation and policy which the healthcare system have to abide by. One policy document that was published by the DoH is the ‘Prevention and Control of Infection in Care Homes’ (Department of Health, 2013). It is targeted at healthcare settings such as care trusts, and is about ‘best practise guidance’. The policy document includes information such as the chain of infection, hand washing techniques as well as asepsis and aseptic technique guidelines. The DoH has created this document to improve infection prevention by giving more responsibility to healthcare professionals and urging them to use these precautionary measures.

‘The RCN considers infection prevention and control to be a core element of quality, patient safety and governance systems and as such it is one of the RCN's key areas of activity. Infection prevention and control is the clinical application of microbiology in practice’ (Royal College of Nursing, 2013). The chain of infection model displays the transmission of infection from one patient to another. The model has six components which if broken from the chain will prevent the infection from spreading. These components include; a causative micro-organism, reservoir, portal of exit, mode of transmission, portal of entry and...

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