Overworked. Undervalued. Less encounters that bring joy. This is a glimpse at what nurses are up against in today's healthcare landscape. With 43 percent of respondents to a recent RNnetwork nurse survey saying their workplaces also don't support a healthy work/life balance, new thinking and approaches to drive clinician well-being are required to keep quality nurses in healthcare.
A caregiver's most valuable set of tools are the hands, which also are the most vulnerable tools as a result of constant hand washing, scrubbing and sanitizing. As part of a new Caregiver Well-Being initiative by Medline, the company set out to uncover the depth of the problem and tangible solutions.
Medline commissioned surveys among nearly 340 nurses from across the country on topics ranging from condition of hands and glove use to hand hygiene and employee morale. Key findings include:
- 94 percent experience skin irritation (e.g. dry skin)
- For 57 percent, the condition of hands impacts frequency of washing or sanitization
- 79 percent say the condition of hands impact quality of life
- Condition of hands affects job satisfaction for 66 percent of nurses
"The constant moist and dry environment of gloves can create the perfect scenario for skin breakdown," says Martie Moore, R.N., MAOM, CPHQ, chief nursing officer, Medline. "Gloves shouldn't be a means to an end. We need to understand what's truly happening under the glove so clinician hands can be healthy."
Click To Tweet: From @Medline CNO: "It's time to understand what's truly happening under the glove to help clinician hands." #nursehands
Tough Talk on Hands
Hand dermatitis is a significant problem affecting more than 50 percent of inpatient clinicians. Matthew Zirwas, one of the dermatologists who helped uncover this statistic, specializes in eczema particularly among healthcare workers in inpatient settings. He says while frequent hand washing and gelling are known to lead to hand dermatitis, gloves can aggravate the irritation.
"Hand eczema in healthcare workers is much more common than most physicians and hospital executives realize because it is rarely reported by hospital staff unless it reaches an extraordinarily severe level," says Matthew Zirwas, dermatologist, Bexley Dermatology in Ohio. "Healthcare facilities interested in optimizing job satisfaction among nursing staff and maximizing hand hygiene compliance should choose gloves that optimize the skin health of clinicians who wear them. Look for ingredients like colloidal oatmeal, an element well-known for its ability to soothe and provide relief."
Restore Exam Gloves
Using an ingredient known for its natural ability to soothe irritated skin, Medline's Restore™ nitrile exam gloves contain maxOat+™, a proprietary blend of colloidal oatmeal. In 2016, Restore received the Seal of Acceptance™ from the National Eczema Association (NEA). The organization is guided by physicians and scientists and dedicated to improving the quality of life for people who suffer from eczema and sensitive skin. Medline also expanded its Restore line earlier this year to include a thinner alternative offering superior tactile sensitivity called Restore Sense.