When I was in college getting my nursing degree we had labs where we would practice certain aspects of patient care prior to our clinical rotations. One lab that I clearly remember was learning how to open and put on a pair of sterile gloves. No big deal right, it is just putting on gloves. But no, it is a big deal! You need to keep the inside of the packaging sterile and you need to put the gloves on in a way that the outsides of them remain sterile.
I was so nervous. I started to open the paper that surrounds the sterile gloves. I unfolded the perfectly creased paper and used my hand to smooth down the paper. FAIL! I just contaminated the sterile field. My professor let me know what I did wrong, and trust me, I never did it again. Opening sterile gloves is something I have done many, many times, without issue since that lesson. But, those first several times I had to really think about what I was doing.
The reason I am sharing this story is because people are in the midst of a change. People are becoming more aware of their actions and how these actions can greatly affect not only themselves but those around them. We need to change our daily practices and lives to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Something as simple as washing your hands correctly can save a life. Staying home when you are not feeling well can help you prevent the spread of an illness that could literally end another person’s life. Wearing a mask can help prevent the spread to another person.
At some point, the spread of CVOID-19 will slow and we will be able to get back to “normal.” I hope our normal will have changed. I hope people will continue to wash their hands and stay home when they don’t feel well. I hope children from a young age will be taught proper hygiene and how important it can be. I hope that we as a society will be able to better help keep ourselves and those around us safe.
Karen practiced as an acute care nurse on a medical-oncology unit at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania for several years. She joined OncoLink as an Educational Content Specialist in 2014. In her blog she shares stories about her personal experiences with cancer, both on the floor and in her personal life.