Nurse Assistants and Communicable Diseases
Communicable diseases are those that can be transferred from one individual to another. These include the common cold, tuberculosis, the flu, and HIV, herpes, measles, chicken pox, lice, and strep throat. Are of these are highly contagious. For those who already have medical issues, their immune system has a hard time fighting off anything else, so they are very susceptible.
Communicable diseases spread by human waste including saliva, stools, urine, blood, and other bodily fluids. Airborne droplets from the nose and mouth are also a common transmitter.
Since communicable diseases often spread like wildfire if not properly contained, it is everyone’s responsibility to do all they can to maintain their own health. Washing your hands often is a very good place to start. Most germs can’t survive soap and water. Nursing Assistants are encouraged to wash their hands more than most people because they are in constant contact with other people.
As a Nurse Assistant, it is your responsibility to immediately notify your supervisor if you develop the symptoms of any communicable disease. They can then determine a course of action. It may be recommended that you don’t come to work until the communicable disease has run its course. Depending on the disease, you might be able to continue working with a respirator to prevent passing it to anyone else. In some cases, it may need to be reported to the health department.
Some communicable diseases can be cured with antibiotics such as strep throat. Others including the common cold will have to run their course. You can do your part by remembering to wash your hands, taking your vitamins, being current on all immunizations, and getting an annual flu shot.
Learning about these types of diseases is an important part of the Nursing Assistant program. Most medical facilities train all new employees in the area of communicable diseases. There is also ongoing training. While preventing the spread of communicable diseases is important in any work environment, it is especially important in a medical setting.
Each medical agency will have different processes and procedures for handling the spread of communicable diseases. Make sure you are well trained in identifying them, noticing the onset, and knowing how to handle each type of situation. Epidemics of communicable diseases require emergency procedures to take place. It is very important that you agency trains all employees in that area as well.
Nursing Assistances come into contact with bodily fluids of patients on a regular basis, and this is the most common method that they are infected with communicable diseases. You should always use rubber gloves when doing tasks such as changing soiled bedding and clothing and empting bedpans. The use of a sterile disinfectant while cleaning is important as well. If you do get bodily fluids on you, immediately was the area with soap and water, then report the incident. Your report needs to include what took place and what bodily fluids you came into contact with.
Communicable diseases are an area many people don’t know much about. It is important that Nursing Assistants do some research on their own to make sure they fully understand the health risks involved with coming into contact with communicable diseases. While it is very rare, there have been reports of Nursing Assistants being infected with HIV and other potentially deadly diseases.