Exam gloves are one of the few pieces of equipment that are used on every call. They are essential personal protective equipment to be wearing or have easily accessible.
Although these Everyday EMS Tips may seem simplistic I think they are important reminders for new and experienced EMS professionals:
- Don’t put gloves on while you are driving and still touching the likely contaminated wheel and controls.
- Don your gloves as you approach the patient – after you are done driving, touching door knobs, bells and buzzers, etc.
- Change gloves if you are switching to a different patient.
- If you are the data recorder remove your gloves while using the clipboard, laptop, or handheld computer. I find it works well in most situations if one person does the patient touching and the other person records data, investigates patient paperwork, and examines medication bottles.
- Don’t write on your gloves. This is an odd tradition passed through generations of EMS professionals, but you risk compromising the glove, throwing data away, and it just looks semi-pro. Imagine what this looks like from the patient perspective?
- Remove gloves and wash your hands before touching the steering wheel. If you will need gloves to move the patient from the ambulance cot to the hospital bed don a new pair of gloves. When I wash my hands in the ambulance I usually apply excess handwashing alcohol based hand gel that I lather around the steering wheel, shift lever, and other frequently touched controls. Just doing my part to keep the work environment germ free.
Am I over-reacting about gloves and hand hygiene? Tell me in the comments and share your exam glove reminders.