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Scope of Microbiology in Nursing

As their name suggests, microorganisms are minute organisms with the potential to adapt to their environment; for instance, commensals can become pathogenic in certain altered ...

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Sourav Bio

As their name suggests, microorganisms are minute organisms with the potential to adapt to their environment; for instance, commensals can become pathogenic in certain altered environments. The adaptability of microbes to certain treatments or medications remains a challenge for nurses and other medical professionals. Microbiology influences the lives of a nurse working in a medical health care setting. Microbiology helps a healthcare practitioner have a better understanding of microbes so that a patient with a weakened immune system, who is at danger of contracting any microbe, can remain safe and healthy while under the care of a nurse. Understanding microbiology enables a nurse to comprehend the fundamental ideas of reproduction, morphology, biochemical properties, and genetics. Microbiology raises awareness of emerging diseases and contemporary molecular identification techniques. In addition, the function of microorganisms in the creation of certain drugs and immunisations cannot be overlooked.

Introduction

When working in medical health care settings, nurses are frequently exposed to the microbial world. They are responsible for handling all elements of outpatient health and hospital infection control. The microbial world is a vital component of healthcare environments. Everyone is aware that microbiology is the study of microscopic creatures that are invisible to the naked eye. These microorganisms are always present on and around the human body, and they may be harmful, so causing various diseases, or commensal, thereby preventing disease. The study of microbiology will aid a nurse in comprehending the enormous realm of these microscopic organisms and establishing their numerous connections to the human world. Medical microbiology is the study of microbes responsible for a variety of mild to severe diseases, and it is subdivided into:

  1. Bacteriology is the study of single-celled microorganisms.
  2. Virology, which makes the study of viruses possible.
  3. Parasitology is the study of unicellular and multicellular parasites.
  4. Mycology, the study of diverse fungal microorganisms

Microbiology is an essential component of nursing studies and a vital aspect of the nursing practise. It supplies the fundamental building blocks for the nursing profession. Successful implementation of microbiology in the nursing profession demonstrates an in-depth awareness of the link between the microbial world and humans.

As nurses care for a variety of patients, including those with contagious infections, they must have a thorough understanding of microbes. In this instance, knowledge in medical microbiology would assist them in understanding the disease-causing organism and the patient’s natural flora, as some of them may become pathogenic under certain circumstances. For instance, E coli, a bacteria prevalent in the colon, aids in the absorption of vitamin K, and the human body feeds it with a nutrient-rich habitat. In circumstances such as a weakened immune system or after surgery, this bacteria may be transplanted to a different part of the body and become harmful. In such a circumstance, the substance would become hazardous to the body and cause signs of diseases such as urinary tract infection.

A nurse must learn to recognise these microorganisms so that the correct medications and treatment may be administered to the patient. Bacteria have a propensity to adapt to environmental changes and become resistant to some antibiotics while remaining sensitive to others. Knowledge of microbiology facilitates treatment with appropriate antibiotics. When a patient does not respond to the chemotherapeutic drug prescribed for treatment, an antibiotic sensitivity test is conducted to determine which antibiotic should be utilised.

Understanding microbiology enables a nurse to comprehend the fundamental ideas of reproduction, morphology, biochemical properties, and genetics. Microbiology raises awareness of emerging diseases and contemporary molecular identification techniques. In addition, the function of microorganisms in the creation of certain drugs and immunisations cannot be overlooked.

Role of Microbiology in Nursing

In hospitals, nurses are responsible for managing all aspects of patient health and infection control. To be able to care for patients and protect oneself from dangerous bacteria, a nurse must have knowledge in microbiology. When providing patient care or performing procedures, nurses employ microbiological ideas.

To prevent spread of infection

  • The mode of infection transmission should be familiar with by nurses. Some illnesses are transmitted by contact (touch), air (air-borne), droplets (sneezing, coughing), consuming infected food or drink (food-borne), sexual contact (STDs), arthropod bite (vector-born), blood transfusion, etc. 
  • This knowledge would aid a nurse in searching for specific measures to prevent the spread of infection. 
  • If a nurse understands how disease-causing organisms enter the body, how they are expelled from the body, and how they spread from person to person, she would be able to use specific measures to prevent the spread of infection in the community and hospital, such as a negative-pressure room for tuberculosis patients.

To maintain sterile field

  • A nurse must understand the processes required to generate and maintain a sterile field in hospitals, which are based on microbiological expertise. 
  • A nurse must understand how to generate and maintain a sterile field in operating rooms in order to prevent post-operative infections. Handwashing is one of the most important things to do.
  • This basic yet often overlooked action can prevent or lessen the likelihood of infection transmission. Hand cleaning minimises the number of bacteria on a nurse’s hands, hence reducing the risk of hospital-acquired infections. 
  • A nurse’s understanding of microbiology can aid in the usage of sterile equipment, which is essential for invasive patient procedures. 
  • Microbiology is the foundation of asepsis principles. A nurse is required to possess knowledge of sterilising procedures. 
  • The proper disposal of biomedical waste is of similar importance, and knowledge of microbiology is also advantageous in this area. 
  • Before sending waste to be disposed of, it is crucial to sort trash into bins according to their origin in order to prevent environmental contamination.

To collect specimens

  • The nurse must recognise the significance of adequate specimen collection for bacteriological analysis in order to achieve correct results. 
  • For example, she must be familiar with the many infectious diseases and their transmission routes in order to collect clinical specimens from the right site, such as pustule, blood, or faeces, etc. 
  • The nurse must recognise the significance of adequate specimen collection for bacteriological analysis in order to achieve correct results.

To implement immunisation schedule in hospitals

  • A nurse also plays a vital part in immunisation to reduce the spread of diseases such as diphtheria, measles, and rubella, etc. 
  • Therefore, they must be familiar with the numerous antisera and vaccines used to prevent the terrible diseases. 
  • A nurse should be familiar with vaccination schedules and the cold chain used to transport vaccines from production to administration. 
  • Immunology, a subfield of microbiology, assists the nurse in this endeavour. Immunology knowledge makes a nurse well-equipped for vaccination and cold chain protection of vaccines.

Implementation of microbiology in nursing: the role of nurses in various units

To illustrate the significance of microbiology in nursing care, this article discusses a few locations within a healthcare system.

Infectious disease or communicable disease wards

Patients with the same or comparable disease are admitted here, such as the rabies ward or the gastroenteritis ward, and the nurse takes precautions to prevent the spread of infection to other patients. She practises aseptic techniques when providing nursing care.

Burns’ unit 

A burn wound is initially sterile, but within a short period, bacteria begin to colonise it. The nurse takes all care when caring for this type of patient so that the wound does not become further contaminated. In addition to employing aseptic methods, she also uses sterile equipment when caring for such patients.

Operation theatres

  • The role of a nurse before to a surgery is to ensure that the operating room (OR) is clear of pathogens. 
  • The periodic fumigation of the operating room accomplishes this objective. Identifying microorganisms facilitates targeted treatment. 
  • The sterility of an OT is determined by culturing swabs collected from various locations within the OT. 
  • After an overnight incubation at 37 degrees Celsius, no organism should have grown on the plates. The nurse must ensure that all patient operations are performed under sterile circumstances.

Obstetric units 

  • The infection of the birth canal after childbirth or abortion is a major contributor to the high risk of maternal death. This is because the infection can develop peritonitis or phlebitis if it spreads. 
  • The nurse can play a role during prenatal care, delivery, and the six-week postpartum period known as puerperium. 
  • In addition to employing aseptic methods, she also uses sterile equipment when caring for such patients. 
  • The nurse may play a role when a woman need antenatal care, assistance during delivery, or care for six weeks following childbirth, known as puerperium.

Intensive care nursery

  • In intensive care nurseries, staff with extensive expertise of incubators, gastrostomy feeding, exchange transfusion, respirator, and umbilical catheters, which are required for infants, are engaged. 
  • In order to maintain a sanitary environment in these intensive care facilities, nurses must be vigilant.

Central sterilisation unit or CSSU

  • Central sterilisation unit or CSSU in a hospital must operate effectively in order to maintain sterile conditions in a healthcare setting. 
  • A nurse must have a thorough understanding of sterilising processes and sterilisation controls in order to provide quality nursing care. 
  • The proper disposal of biomedical waste generated in hospital settings contributes to the prevention of environmental contamination and the health risks associated with it.

It helps: 

  1. For fighting infectious diseases: During a hospital stay, not only is the risk of cross-infection present, but the normal flora of immunocompromised patients may become pathogenic. Therefore, understanding of microbiology aids in the fight against infectious diseases.
  2. To obtain clinical specimens from the appropriate infection site: For bacteriological research, it must be determined which organism is responsible for infection.
  3. Targeted therapy: Mutational changes in microorganisms make treatment difficult; therefore, knowledge of microbiology is required for identification of the specific pathogen and delivery of the necessary antibiotic treatment for a specified duration.
  4. To establish and preserve a sterile field Sterilisation and disinfection methods are used to generate and maintain a sterile field in healthcare environment
  5. To implement Asepsis: Principles of asepsis are followed to control and prevent transmission of infection and to follow these, mode of entry and exit of an infection must be known to a nurse.
  6. To eliminate biological waste: If biomedical waste is not properly disposed of, it may result in the outbreak of a terrible illness. Therefore correct disposal of biomedical waste is required which is based on principles of microbiology.

Microbiology plays a crucial part in the treatment of patients and the proper disposal of biomedical waste; therefore, nurses should be well-versed in the subject. To summarise: Knowledge of microbiology reveals the route of infection transmission. This knowledge would aid a nurse in searching for specific measures to prevent the spread of infection. Some of the patient’s normal flora may become pathogenic under certain situations; therefore, knowledge in medical microbiology would aid in identifying the disease-causing organism and normal flora. Based on their knowledge of microbiology, nurses must be familiar with the methods used to produce and maintain a sterile field in hospitals. Microbiology is the foundation of asepsis principles. A nurse must have knowledge of sterilising processes since equipment and tools used in the healthcare profession must be free of microorganisms. In order to provide high-quality nursing care, a nurse must have a thorough understanding of sterilising techniques and controls. This is based on microbiology knowledge. The proper disposal of biomedical waste created in a healthcare setting is also crucial, and knowledge of microbiology is beneficial in this regard. In intensive care nurseries, burn’s units, operating rooms, etc., nurses are responsible for maintaining a sterile environment. A solid understanding of microbiology is essential to deliver appropriate nursing care, as evidenced by the aforementioned facts. It must be obtained through nursing education and microbiology knowledge.

Citation

APA

Sourav Bio. (December 27, 2022).Scope of Microbiology in Nursing. Retrieved from https://microbiologynote.com/scope-of-microbiology-in-nursing/

MLA

Sourav Bio. "Scope of Microbiology in Nursing." Microbiology Note, Microbiologynote.com, December 27, 2022.

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