Group: Leave The Scrubs At The Hospital

PITTSBURGH (NewsRadio 1020 KDKA) — Multiple organizations are hoping to stop the spread of disease that can be spread by medical scrubs worn by doctors and nurses. Officials say nurses’ uniforms can contain Clostridium difficile, a common bacteria that can cause violent diarrhea. Rose and Paul talked with Dr. Betsy McCaughey from the Committee to Reduce Infectious Deaths on the KDKA Afternoon News about their efforts.

More from KDKA Afternoon News
  • SL RN, BSN

    Have you ever seen hospital workers mowing the lawn in their scrubs or going to the grocery store in their scrubs after working their 8 or 12 hour shift.? Did they wash hands before leaving work? Is their uniform clean when they arrive at work? Have you every looked at hospital workers shoes? Should we also include visitors who sit on the beds of ill patients. There used to be a reason why visitors were limited in hospital areas. They were and still are dangerous places to be. Nurses were required to wear white cotton uniforms so they could be laundered in hot water and Cholox to kill bacteria, White shoes were to kept strictly for work puposes and maintained and cleaned and outside shoes were not to be worn on the hospital floors. Florence Nightengale is probably turning in her grave as all her work about general cleanliness of the nurse, the hospital surroundings and the patient has gone down the drain in the last 20 years or since scrubs were accepted as hospital attire by all. I am a registered nurse since 1970.

    • SLM RN

      I assure you as an RN that we wash our hands BEFORE using the br let alone when we leave work- But I have shopped in scrubs and also mown grass-but unless we wear hazmat suits what else can we do? Even if we change at work-what about showering? And for that matter-we act as if everyone is potentially contagious-visitors and patients-but have you ever considered who is serving your food at restaurants? Or cooking it? Or the salad bar utensils? Or touching the casino slot machines? Those same visitors are also out in the community-. AND what about in Psychiatry where RNs wear street clothes? What are they to do with those clothes? Do you think that psych patients don’t have wounds or illnesses too? And why are we left holding the bag when MDs don’t even wear gloves when looking at their patient’s wounds? I have been an RN since the 1980s…things sure have changed….

  • hosp support staff

    Wearing white is all fine and dandy, my hospital requires most of the nurses do it because it looks more professional not for cleanliness other nurses wear hospital supplied scrubs. But the support staff, housekeeping, lab, etc have to buy their own uniforms and can’t clean them in hot water and bleach, but we keep ourselves safe by following our protocols. The visitors however don’t have to follow our protocols. I’ve seen visitors eating off the food trays or sitting on the beds of patients that have special precautions that the family refuses to follow. The families and friends want to bo more involved so the hospitals opened up and allow them to visit more freely but they don’t want to protect themselves or others from whatever they may have been exposed to after their visits. So those visitors can spread the same pathogens that the hospital workers are being blamed for. Who is really to blame? I say society itself.

    • EC, RN

      Yes, I agree. I believe that SL most likely does not currently work in a patient care setting. Try telling family members they can not visit (or attempt to tell them what they need to do hygiene wise while at/after the hospital visit)…..I guarantee that does not go over well.

  • EC, RN

    Well I agree that scrubs can harbor germs post shift, I think that you can go overboard with the “germaphobia”. I remove my scrubs immediately after returning home, and I would never dream of wearing my work shoes in my home (although we don’t wear any of our shoes in the house…and I scrub my floors, on my hands and knees, at least once a week).

    I believe that the previous poster is making a very broad assumption that cleanliness has “gone down the drain”. There are many issues that have changed in the 41 years since 1970 (do you currently work in the hospital setting SL?). Resistant bacteria that is present today was not as prevalent (but that is due to overuse of antibiotics, which is another topic altogether. Many people who you see mowing their grass in scrubs are not doctors or nurses at all…scrubs are sold to the public too…many people wear them because they are comfortable (they even make children’s scrubs). It is also important to note that C-diff can be killed with soap and water, so bleach is not necessary.

    Cleanliness can also be overdone…exposure to some germs actually help prevent others.

    • SL RN BSN

      Perhaps we have thank the US Health Department for their minimal standards of care, for increased rate of nosocomial infection and for resistant pathogens.Perhaps we have relaxed policy and procedure to thank for resistant bacteria. Perhaps it is society in general who need educated and re educated in proper hygeine from kindergarten on. Perhaps it is the age old attitude ” that this can never happen to me.” Perhaps we have to thank the educational system for not training all hospital personal in proper hygeine. Progress can only be made if educated and compliant to infection control policies and that includes all hospital, ancillary and medical staff. . Perhaps we should thank our senators for introducing the Patient Bill of Rights that prevents nurses and ancillary personel from caring for patients and allows for staff to say that the patient refused therefore the treatment was not carried out.
      If we continue to bicker amongst ourselves (which is what nurses seem to do quite frequently) and fail to unite with some type of loyalty for the cause to reduce the rate of infection, we will not see improvement.
      EC can you think of what you could possibly do to help decrease the rate of infection in the area in which you work? Have you a plan you can discuss with your supervisor’s to decrease nosocomial infections by one in your specialty?
      I pass the torch to you. You and your generation must be the ones to find an end to this crisis.

  • Level_green

    I visited a patient recently that had c-diff and there were warning instructions on the door, I had to gown up (which was thrown away when I left), and finally I had to hand sanitize myself thoroughly.

    I’m not in the medical profession but this seems to make common sense to me as a reasonable precaution. Things change and so does our response to them.

    It makes me think of the nurse or doc that just sat at the lunch table in the
    Paneras In their scrubs just before I got there.

    The earlier quote “cleanliness can be overdone” still has me laughing though.

  • CS RN

    I think the Hospitals should PROVIDE the scrubs they want us to wear. BUT, I would worry less about the staff and worry MORE about the family members that visit. Eighty percent do NOT follow the isolation precautions posted and requested to be followed by the staff. They walk in and out of the isolation rooms with the same isolation garb or gloves (if they even PUT it on) and their hands are ALL OVER the desk. I am by FAR not saying the health care workers are 100% compliant. But there is much to be said about the families and visitors that DO NOT CARE to wash. Infants on beds…yeah I have seen it. Incidentally—Purell does NOT kill cdiff.

  • Shawn

    Just remove tge scrubs before you leave work. I find them very tacky anyways.

  • concerned nurse

    When a patient has C diff the protocol is soap and water not purell. More information needs to be given to the public in general on infections so that the proper protocols can be followed. I am a nurse and I wear scrubs. I use the protective gear requirred for infections and always wash my hands. What about the mother who has a sick child coughing all over her. This should not only pertain tio hospital workers

  • Scott

    First off, I have not seen any conclusive data on if scrubs actually spread microbes. A large UK study was inconclusive. Second, do doctors wash their hands between patients? Until they and all other professionals who are involved in patients’ care always wash their hands between patients, this problem isn’t going away. And if you’re going to impose regulations on scrubs-wearing professionals, then you had better do the same on every single person who enters a hospital floor. A friend – an office supply sales person – contracted MRSA by brushing against a contaminated supply cart up on a hospital floor. And she wears business suits. And probably went to lunch after her appointment. Maybe even mowed the lawn… Which is to say, the healthcare industry needs a comprehensive approach to the prevention of healthcare-acquired infections. If it’s determined BY THE DATA that workers should wear/launder/not wear scrubs in a particular manner, then so be it. But selective paranoia is counter productive and wastes time. And if we want the politicos involved, we can count on a knee-jerk reaction designed to win public sentiment, not necessarily save lives. Healthcare acquired infection can kill, and we should do everything we can to prevent them from occurring and spreading. But we need a thoughtful, data-driven, comprehensive approach to this enormous problem.

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