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Personal protective equipment: A guide for nurses

  Essential Safety Wear   Nov 08, 2018   Uncategorized   0 Comment

PPE for nurses is essential since it helps to stop the spread of germs. Ultimately, the PPE acts as a barrier between germs, the healthcare worker and the patient.

There are a huge number of people within a hospital, therefore, personal protective equipment in hospitals is extremely important for infection prevention.

PPE minimises the spread of bacteria and infection.

A well-known bacteria that is well-known to be lethal in the hospital environment is MRSA. MRSA stands for meticillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus and is also called a “superbug”.  

This bug is so dangerous, patients are screened for the bug before being admitted to hospital for an operation. A swab will be taken from their skin. If MRSA is found, they will be given creams and shampoos to get rid of it.

A significant precaution to stopping the spread of bacterias, like MRSA, is of course PPE in healthcare settings.

Types of PPE for nurses

There are many different types of PPE worn by nurses to reduce the risk of infection in patients, visitors and staff at the hospital.

Infection control items include face protection, such as face shields (surgical mask), eye protection and other forms of protective equipment.

Even shoes worn by nurses around the ward will need safety features, such as anti-slip qualities.  

While an employer will most likely provide the necessary PPE for the job role of a nurse, whether it be the NHS or another organisation, here is a list of what a nurse may expect to wear in his/her role:

Eye protection

Goggles are worn by healthcare workers to protect eyes from contamination from bodily fluids or harmful substances.

Safety spectacles, goggles and other forms of eye protection are essential for procedures where there could be a risk of patient bodily fluids coming into contact with the eye membrane. If there is a risk of blood spurting, for example, when operating near a vein/artery or performing open heart surgery.

Face protection

A surgical mask covers the nose and mouth, preventing any airborne substances from entering. It also stops the nurse from breathing out any germs onto the patient.

A respirator is a step up from this, making it even more difficult for particles to enter the body. This may be required in situations where the risk of contamination is a severe threat.

Safety clothing

Gowns are often worn by nursing staff to prevent the spread of infection through clothes.


Gloves are worn alongside gowns, and have various uses when it comes to nursing. Gloves shouldn’t be used “just in case” but should be used when coming into contact with bodily fluids, open wounds, hazardous substances or the following body parts: Eyes, mouth, genital areas, nose, ears, lips or an instrument that has touched any of these areas.

Removal and disposal of PPE

While an employer will have guidelines in place as to when you should wear PPE and how it will protect you, in order for the PPE to fulfil its purpose you should:


  1. Wear the PPE correctly: It should be well-fitting and worn as directed by manufacturer.
  2. Dispose of the PPE safely.

Safety precautions should be taken when removing any PPE as you risk touching the contaminated side if you do not remove the PPE as trained.

Nurses are trained in the correct order to remove PPE will be aware of the importance of hand hygiene.

After PPE is removed, hands should be washed for thorough resistance against cross-contamination.

Disposal of PPE in healthcare

Disposable PPE should, of course, be disposed in “offensive waste”. It is likely to be disposed of in a colour-coded bin. Bodily fluids and other potentially infection-spreading waste should not be disposed of in domestic waste.

An employer will have the waste disposal system set out in the risk assessment.

PPE from Essential Safety Wear

Essential Safety Wear stock PPE for nurses and PPE that can be used in a healthcare environment.

Our products include: Gloves, eye protection, safety shoes, safety clothing, respiratory protectors and more.

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