Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) are items worn by healthcare workers to protect themselves from contact with infectious substances. PPE provides a barrier against infection to protect the mucous membranes, airways, skin, and clothing of an individual.
It is very important that all PPE is used and disposed of correctly in order to protect those wearing it and prevent the spread of infection. At PhlebotomyU we provide and instruct all students in the proper use of all required PPE before starting practical training.
The most obvious example of PPE that most patients will notice are gloves worn by a Phlebotomist. Gloves are clean and nonsterile and must be worn at all times when collecting or handling blood and other body fluids, handling contaminated items and touching nonintact skin or mucous membranes.
After use, gloves should be removed in a safe aseptic manner as demonstrated in this video. Pinch one glove in the palm and pull it off inside out with it getting rolled up the to other still-gloved hand. Slip a finger under the second glove and pull it off by touching only the inner surface until it comes off the hand inside out. Immediately after removal and disposal of the gloves, hands should be sanitized.
Gowns and lab coats are worn to protect the skin and prevent soiling of healthcare workers’ clothing. Gowns are disposable and should be removed by only touching the inside surfaces when being removed to avoid contact with the contaminated outer surfaces. Lab coats are generally made of fluid-resistant material, have long sleeves with knit cuffs, and come in both reusable and disposable variations.
Masks are worn to protect healthcare workers from droplets generated by sneezing or coughing. Masks must be secured snugly over the bridge of your nose with the metal band and mask covering the mouth and nose. Some masks have elastic ear loops and others have ties that need to be fastened over the top of your head and back of the neck. Goggles and face shields are worn to protect the eyes, nose and mouth from body fluid splashes.
If coming into contact with patients with pulmonary tuberculosis or other diseases with airborne transmission then an N95 respirator is required. A respirator needs to be specially fitted and checked for no air leaks before use.