The Student Room Group

Placement advice

I'm a second year student nurse on placement on a medical ward at the moment. The other day I was told off by my mentor for wearing gloves “too much of the time”. I usually wear gloves every time I need to touch a patient as I feel safer that way and keeps the patient safe as well. I don't like doing obs or anything like that with no gloves on. But now I've been told I don't need to and should stop wearing gloves unless I really have to, like in an isolation room. I don't like it and feel really unsafe most of the time because you just never know what you might be touching.

What do other students and nurses do? I feel everyone should be wearing gloves like I do, but I don't want to get into any more trouble over it.
Original post by future-nurse
I'm a second year student nurse on placement on a medical ward at the moment. The other day I was told off by my mentor for wearing gloves “too much of the time”. I usually wear gloves every time I need to touch a patient as I feel safer that way and keeps the patient safe as well. I don't like doing obs or anything like that with no gloves on. But now I've been told I don't need to and should stop wearing gloves unless I really have to, like in an isolation room. I don't like it and feel really unsafe most of the time because you just never know what you might be touching.
What do other students and nurses do? I feel everyone should be wearing gloves like I do, but I don't want to get into any more trouble over it.

@Emily_B

Hi future nurse 🙂 🙂 if you have been told to use gloves etc less frequently by a senior nurse then you should follow the protocol that they asking you to do.

If you are unsure about things regarding infection control when you are doing your patients observation etc then perhaps discuss the matter with your current ward sister or manager and see what they say.... I would imagine that the information came from them to pass on to the nurses etc.
There should be a update policy about the usage of PPE ( gloves and aprons etc ) for each individual hospital so maybe ask if you can get a copy of this information to read. Another thing is wasn't you told anything about the usage of PPE when you first started this particular ward placement.

I actually agree with you about you don't know what you are touching when dealing with patients but as long as you follow hands hygiene rules when dealing with different patients then you shouldn't be worrying about anything.

I have to put on aprons and gloves each time I enter another exit a patient room just because of infection control rules what our government has put in place as this has been there policies since away back in 2010 that nurses etc will do that. Obviously it keeps down any possible infections but there's no ganuantee.

NHS registered midwife
Gloves are a part of PPE and should really only be used when there is a likelihood of exposure to body fluids or mucous membranes. They are to protect you (not the patient) and do not provide 100% protection, hence why you perform hand hygiene after removing them. A ridiculous amount of gloves are used inappropriately, more so since covid - I see staff wearing them to push beds, carry property, dish out food and so on.

Unless there are certain infection control reasons, there’s usually no need to don non-sterile gloves to undertake routine observations.

It’s also worth considering the environmental impact, a trust I used to work at got through 24 million individual gloves a year (this was in 2017).
Reply 3
Original post by future-nurse
I'm a second year student nurse on placement on a medical ward at the moment. The other day I was told off by my mentor for wearing gloves “too much of the time”. I usually wear gloves every time I need to touch a patient as I feel safer that way and keeps the patient safe as well. I don't like doing obs or anything like that with no gloves on. But now I've been told I don't need to and should stop wearing gloves unless I really have to, like in an isolation room. I don't like it and feel really unsafe most of the time because you just never know what you might be touching.
What do other students and nurses do? I feel everyone should be wearing gloves like I do, but I don't want to get into any more trouble over it.

The only time you need to be wearing gloves to do a set of observations is if the patient is isolated for any reason. Otherwise, you just need to wash your hands after each set of obs and wash down equipment between each use.

Check your local infection control policy/speak to the infection control team. According to my local infection control team, there's a difference between appropriate use of gloves and over-use. Apparenty when gloves are over-used, there's more of a chance of using the same goves for multiple things including contaminated areas and there's a higher risk of spreading contamination/infection (there's studies to show this, including this one Continued wearing of gloves: a risk behaviour in patient care - PMC (nih.gov) )

There are, obviously, times when you really do need to wear gloves (and apron!).
Thanks for everyone's advice....I've been trying to change a bit the last two shifts I've done. Can't say I feel comfortable or safe but I suppose its more in line with policy and will keep mentor happy!
Original post by future-nurse
Thanks for everyone's advice....I've been trying to change a bit the last two shifts I've done. Can't say I feel comfortable or safe but I suppose its more in line with policy and will keep mentor happy!

What makes you feel unsafe?
Original post by future-nurse
Thanks for everyone's advice....I've been trying to change a bit the last two shifts I've done. Can't say I feel comfortable or safe but I suppose its more in line with policy and will keep mentor happy!
Every placement is completely different from one another. You get absolutely brilliant placements when everyone else helps you out and then you'll have the unfortunately horrible placement when nobody cares about you and you feel down about it, don't beat yourself up over this ok....
Could just be that you not liking this particular placement you are currently doing 😞 😞 look forward in completing it and going back to university for a few weekends or so and then look forward to your next placement this year if you have any more to do.


Keeping up with policies and keeping your mentor happy will be a good challenge for you in your remaining weeks at your current placement. Just do as you asked and remember if unsure ask for help or advice from a member of staff.
Original post by moonkatt
What makes you feel unsafe?

I suppose I'm scared of getting something yuk on my hands and am just in the habit of wearing gloves. I worked in a deli while I was at college and before my training and we had to wear gloves all the time when making and serving food (changing them regularly obviously). Because of COVID most of us wore them handing cash as well, so I guess its a bit of a habit I need to break.

I am really enjoying this placement though!
Original post by future-nurse
I suppose I'm scared of getting something yuk on my hands and am just in the habit of wearing gloves. I worked in a deli while I was at college and before my training and we had to wear gloves all the time when making and serving food (changing them regularly obviously). Because of COVID most of us wore them handing cash as well, so I guess its a bit of a habit I need to break.
I am really enjoying this placement though!

I can understand the reasoning for you wanting to keep wearing gloves at hospitals etc when on placement because of the way you were taught at your deli during COVID which is very understandable. Yes you are supposed to wear gloves at all times when handling food in shops etc as this has never changed.

Best thing for you is try to not worry about wearing gloves on placement unless it's absolutely necessary. You'll soon get into the habit of not putting them on if you start doing something about it.

Good you enjoying your placement as its great to hear students enjoying themselves when on a placement.
Original post by future-nurse
I suppose I'm scared of getting something yuk on my hands and am just in the habit of wearing gloves. I worked in a deli while I was at college and before my training and we had to wear gloves all the time when making and serving food (changing them regularly obviously). Because of COVID most of us wore them handing cash as well, so I guess its a bit of a habit I need to break.
I am really enjoying this placement though!

It’s all about making that personal risk assessment beforehand, chances are, doing routine obs on most people isn’t going to expose you to something unpleasant. Having spent quite a bit of time as an inpatient myself recently, I found it quite odd as to why some people felt the need to wear gloves to put a BP cuff and sats probe on me.

It might be worth spending some time with the infection control nurses (or your placement areas link nurse) for your learning and gain a deeper understanding as to why certain types of PPE are used in different situations and how to use them effectively.

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