Blog

Synthesis Snapshot

Synthesis Post by Heather Dieterle

Ever feel like you do not belong somewhere? I am sure we have all been there at least once in our lives. Well, I found myself in this situation the summer before my senior year here at Plymouth State. I was lost and confused with what I wanted to do but knew I wanted to be able to graduate on time in May 2018.

Graduating May 19, 2018!

This is when Robin came into my life in August of 2017 and really dove in depth with me about what Interdisciplinary Studies is. The major I wanted was something that was going to lead me to my end dream of being a nurse but also something that was going to give me advanced education in the health and science subject fields. This is how I came up with my focused major of Health Science. Combining courses I had already taken in previous semesters, which can be seen in my IDS statement essay, while adding in extra health classes I started to realize my true passion for helping others when they need it the most. In hopes of one day, I will become a nurse I knew a background of health and science course I would be able to succeed in a nursing school after graduation. The classes I have taken over the course of my major have really help me understand the human body, mind and the spirit which all play a huge role in someone’s personal health.

My applied project was reaching out to nursing students, healthcare employees, and normal every day “patients” and interview them about hand sanitizer and hand washing. I was able to interview 6 people that I know about 10 or so questions to help me further investigate my research question of why do hospitals push hand sanitizer rather than hand washing with soap and warm water. I was able to conduct these interviews and realize that pretty much all the questions I had asked each interviewee were fairly similar in their responses.

When I first started this whole process, I had a feeling that the outcome would be as such but what I did not realize is how closely the answers were related whether there was history in the healthcare background or not. I wanted to take the project a step further because only interviewing 6 people was what I felt as not enough information to have a significant pool of data. This is where I came up with the idea of creating a quick short survey that combines the interview questions into 5 more condensed questions. I was able to reach 98 people and get 98 responses that are discussed more in depth on my applied project page. This project helped my education grow because I was able go deeper into the issue of if hand sanitizer is worth all the talk it gets.

My applied project idea came to me after I decided on my research article topic. I came up with the idea after much thinking about what I would personally change in the healthcare field if I had the power to do so. I came up with the thought of researching the history, benefits and barriers of both hand sanitizer and hand washing with warm water and soap.

CC By: Arlington County

I compared the two throughout my research and realized that there is a lot of research done on hand sanitizer but it still is not 100% on how effective it actually is. I wanted to raise the question to other healthcare workers and to patients to have them wonder and think about why hand sanitizer is so prevalent when research is clear that there still needs to be research done on the product.

Both of the projects relate directly in line with the courses that make up my major. This research will stick with my education for as long as it last, I hope to continue to learn more about this issue and help create a change with it in the healthcare field.

Hope to continue my education by going back to nursing school!

As I move forward in my life and education after Plymouth State, I hope to consider the research I found every time I go into a patients room. I hope the future of this topic is impacted by this project as well as to those who helped me get all my personal data for my applied project. I am very thankful I was able to research this topic as it will be a huge part of my future moving forward with my career.

 

 

Don’t Get Caught Germy Handed; Be Aware, Wash with Care

Research Article by Heather Dieterle

Don’t Get Caught Germy Handed: Be Aware, Wash with Care


Introduction

CC By Open Source Images

In one health care setting, like a doctor’s office, patients see their health care professionals constantly use warm water and soap to wash their hands before and after they touch their patients. On the other hand, in hospitals patients and their families watch their medical professional use hand sanitizer constantly and never actually watch them wash their hands with warm water and soap. Who’s to say the bottle of hand sanitizer is correct when it says the contents kills 99.9% of bacteria, so why would it be that medical professionals trust a label and use this product so frequently? According to the Global Handwashing Partnership, they state, “In recent years, handwashing with soap and other forms of hand hygiene have been gaining recognitions as a cost-effective, essential tool for achieving good health and nutrition. Now that its effectiveness is no longer in question, the main focus is on how to make handwashing universal” (globalhandwashing.org, 2017). As a former nursing student I have been drilled with enter and exit a room using hand sanitizer to clean my hands. I sit here and try to raise the question of why this is so pressed in hospital settings. I know, as a patient stand point I enjoy seeing my medical staff using warm water and soap as opposed to sanitizer when entering my room. I can understand the fact of when exiting the room or in an emergency situation to use hand sanitizer however when a non-emergency situation arises I believe we, as medical staff, should be using warm water and soap in replace of hand sanitizer. I try to raise this question primarily because I care about giving my patients the best care I can give them and if that means I have to spend fifteen seconds using a sink I will.


Hand Washing History

CC By: Tim Arnold

“Hand hygiene is now regarded as one of the most important element of infection control activities. In wake of the growing burden of health care associated infections (HCAIs), the increasing severity of illness and complexity of treatment, superimposed by multi-drug resistant (MDR) pathogen infections, health care practitioners (HCPs) are reversing back to the basics of infection preventions by simple measures like hand hygiene” (Mathur, 2011). Hand washing is something we learn around first grade, I can remember since I was little about being taught the ‘sing happy birthday’ to yourself rule. Fifteen seconds that is all it takes it effectively wash your hands. According to Markel, he states, “nevertheless, approximately 5% to 10% of all hospitalized patients in the developed world acquire infections from health care workers who forgot to wash their hands” (Markel, pg. 447). Although these percentages are fairly low, they should technically be much lower than they are currently. 5-10% is considerably high due to the fact that this hospital acquired diseases can be completely prevented. Ignaz Philipp Semmelweis, “described as the “savior of the mothers”, Semmelweis discovered that the incidence of puerperal fever (also known as “childbed fever”) could be drastically cut by the use of hand disinfection in obstetrical clinics. Puerperal fever was common in mid-19th-century hospitals and often fatal” (en.wikipedia.org). Semmelweis, made a renowned breakthrough in the history of hand washing and what would become a hero act of saving millions of lives. Also according to Markel, “hand hygiene is a relatively new wrinkle in the long history of disease and health. It did not become a bona fide medical prescription until 1847 when Ignaz Semmelweis began exhorting his fellow physicians at the famed Vienna General Hospital (Allgemeines Krankenhaus) to wash up before examining women about to deliver babies” (Markel, pg. 447-448). For something that is such second nature in the medical field today was something that completely was ignored for a very long period of time in history. A point in hand washing history, there was a time where surgeons did not know the efficacy of washing their hands before placing them into someone’s body. Another statement made by Markel that stood out to me is “incorporating the habit of frequently washing our hands in our daily lives is a simple but powerful health policy we can all wrap our hands around, provided there is plenty of water and a bar of soap between them” (Markel, pg. 451). This statement is proof of how easy it is to have hand washing in our daily activities, to me hand washing is very important piece of day to day life. The author, Mathur states “There are two types of microbes colonizing hands: the resident flora, which consists of microorganisms residing under the superficial cells of the stratum corneum and the transient flora, which colonizes the superficial layers of the skin, and is more amenable to removal by routine hand hygiene” According to the Center for Diseases Control and Prevention (CDC) states, “it is estimated that washing hands with soap and water could reduce diarrheal disease-associated deaths by up to 50%. Researchers in London estimated that if everyone routinely washed their hands, a million deaths a year could be prevented. A large percentage of food borne disease outbreaks are spread by contaminated hands. Appropriate hand washing practices can reduce the risk of food borne illness and other infections. Hand washing can reduce the risk of respiratory infections by 16%. The use of an alcohol gel hand sanitizer in the classroom provided an overall reduction in absenteeism due to infection by 19.8% among 16 elementary schools and 6,000 students” (cdc.gov, 2013). With these statistics alone, the spread of disease can be decreased significantly.


Hand Sanitizer History

CC By: uncoolbob

Hand sanitizer has become a widely known method of hand washing. These are alcohol-based gel products that allow for quick hand hygiene when there is not time for warm water and soap. According to Microchem Laboratory, they state, “hand sanitizers do not serve as a replacement for thorough hand washing. Instead, they are thought to bring consumers some of the benefits of hand washing when hand washing is not practical” (microchemlab.com, 2017). Hand sanitizer was made to be a quick efficient way to try to get bacteria off of hands while in a fast paced environment. “When hands are not visibly soiled, an alcohol based hand rub should be routinely for decontaminating hands. Before having direct contact with patients” (Mathur, 2011). Mathur states this in their article, I think the continuation of the paragraph goes on to say when to use hand sanitizer which is a good thing to know as someone who works in a health care field. Also stated by Microchem Laboratory, “the relationship between hand sanitizer use and reduced illness has not been firmly established by epidemiological studies, but several laboratory studies suggest hand sanitizers help to prevent infections by killing transient pathogenic bacteria” (microchemlab.com, 2017). If hand sanitizer has not been proven to reduce illness why is it so firmly pressed in schools, airports and especially in hospitals? According to Haas and Larson, “the increased use of alcohol-based hand sanitizers at many health care institutions has made hand hygiene more convenient and less time-consuming. Hand sanitizers reduce the need for sinks. The dispensers are small and can be made accessible at every stage of patient care; some dispensers can be worn or carried in a pocket” (Haas & Larson, pg. 41). Hand sanitizer, to me, seemed to be made for convenience and only somewhat for effectiveness. The authors Reynolds, Levy, and Walker state in their article Hand Sanitizer Alert, “some products marketed to the public as antimicrobial hand sanitizers are not effective in reducing bacterial counts on hands. In the course of a classroom demonstration of the comparative efficacy of hospital-grade antimicrobial soap and alcohol-based sanitizers, a product with 40 percent ethanol as the active ingredient was purchased at a retail discount store” (Reynolds, Levy & Walker, pg. 48). Burton, author of Wall Street Journal (online) states, “the Food and Drug Administration is proposing a requirement that markers of antibacterial sanitizing products submit data on safety and effectiveness if they want to stay on the market” (Burton, pg. 1). Hand sanitizers are monitored by the FDA, I think what the FDA is asking of hand sanitizer production companies is only to ensure the safety of the consumer. For hand sanitizer to be effective it needs to have at least in the minimum of 60% alcohol based, hospitals should be aware of this and determine if their hand sanitizer product is effective or not.


Barriers to Hand Hygiene

CC By: jm3

With any type of issue, there are always barriers in the situation. Hand hygiene is no different. According to Haas and Larson, barriers to hand hygiene, “a lack of access to sinks, a lack of time, dry, chapped skin on hands, ignorance, the high cost of products and initiatives, a divided health care culture, and insufficient personal accountability” (Haas & Larson, pg. 42). For most of these barriers reported, I noticed that more than half have the solution of using alcohol-based hand sanitizer was a potential solution to the barrier. I was able to find a very interesting article on the internet about 11 different barriers to hand hygiene compliance. According to Rodak, “time pressure is one of the biggest reported barriers to hand hygiene compliance among healthcare workers, according to a study in Infection Control and Hospital Epidemiology” (Rodak, 2013). This author also states “in a survey, the participants identified 11 barriers to compliance: ‘I hurry/emergent patient conditions’ at 45.5%, ‘I don’t see any dirt/I think it’s not dirty’ at 24.4%, ‘I forget’ at 15.4%, ‘It is inconvenient’ at 13.8%, ‘I don’t care’ at 8.1%, ‘I’m lazy’ at 5.7%, ‘I wear gloves/no direct contact with patients’ at 4.9%, ‘There are adverse effects of soap/cleanser’ at 4.9%, ‘It wastes time’ at 4.1%, and lastly ‘My hands are clean’ at 2.4%.” (Rodak, 2013). I think all 11 of these answers to ‘hand washing barriers’ are completely wrong answers. I do not see how someone could determine whether or not they will wash their hands based on if they see dirt or not. I can understand the largest answers being in a hurry or emergent patient conditions however they still at the minimum use of alcohol-based hand sanitizer.


Benefits to Hand Washing

CC By: Tim Arnold

As with many other things, hand washing has its own benefits. According to Morgan, she states benefits of hand washing are “reduces risk in medical settings, lowers risk of diarrhea and intestinal problems, prevents eye infections, and lowers respiratory infection risk” (Morgan, 2017).  The most important benefit that I see through my eyes is the reducing the risk in medical settings. According to the author, “hand washing is a simple yet vital behavior in hospitals and other medical facilities. Its importance was first realized in a Vienna hospital in the 19th century. Maternity patients were dying at a high rate. Dr. Ignaz Semmelweis started ordering his staff members to wash their hands before treating the patients, drastically lowering the death rate as a result. The transfer of bacteria from cadavers to the patients from the staff’s hands was the culprit in the deaths. Ensuring that today’s medical professionals make hand washing a priority is essential” (Morgan, 2017). I believe this is the most important benefit because stopping the spread of disease and bacteria from caregiver to the patient. Just like hand washing, hand sanitizer also has benefits. According to the Minnesota Department of Health, “waterless hand sanitizer provides several advantages over hand washing with soap and water. However, they are not effective if organic matter (dirt, food, or other material)” (health.state.mn.us, 2016). Also according to the same site, the benefits of hand sanitizer are “require less time than hand washing, act quickly to kill microorganisms on hands, are more accessible than sinks, reduce bacterial counts on hands, do not promote antimicrobial resistance, are less irritating to skin than soap and water, some can even improve condition of skin” (health.state.mn.us, 2016). These benefits help give hand sanitizer a good reputation however I still personally believe that hand washing is much better for the health of a hospital patient. On the other hand, hand sanitizer has known disadvantages along with its benefits. According to livestrong.com, hand sanitizers disadvantages are “cleaning effectiveness, endocrine system disruption, danger to children, and flammable products” (Moore, 2017). The biggest disadvantage to hand sanitizer of these I believe is the cleaning effectiveness. According to Moore, she states, “using hand sanitizers does not replace hand washing, as explained by the Capital Region Board of Cooperative Educational Services (BOCES). If hands have visible dirt, these sanitizers don’t remove it very well. When hand sanitizers are used in schools or other facilities, the budget still must include money to buy soap. Additionally, consumer antiseptic use has not been demonstrated as being more effective than soap and water in any place other than a health care setting” (Moore, 2017). When hand sanitizer is used in the wrong aspect and wrong time can lead to the spread of bacteria and disease to patients in hospitals as well as to healthy people which then can also spread to those who may even just have a cold. The spread of infection is rapidly increasing in the hospital setting which is sad because it is something that can be prevented, this topic is very important to the medical field and needs to be a topic and subject that is talked about more than it is. I believe that this topic is one of the most important pieces one learns when in the medical field.


Hand Sanitizer in Clinical Setting

CC By: Liz West

When you hear an “alcohol-based” product hand sanitizer some people may fret at the thought of giving this product to a child or someone who is an alcoholic. The accessibility of alcohol-based sanitizer is easy to obtain, however it is even easier to receive it in a hospital based setting. A study done states, “a 46-year old man with a medical history significant for bipolar disorder, chronic hepatitis C, type 2 diabetes mellitus, and alcohol abuse was treated at tertiary medical center after being found unconscious in a local grocery store. The patient later said he ingested an unknown amount of alcohol-containing hand sanitizer and mouthwash for intentional alcohol abuse” (Berberet, Burda, Breier, & Lodolce, pg. 2203-2204). As this study went on, this 46-year old man, continued to ingest alcohol-based products that were readily available to him on his hospital floor. When one is addicted to a substance, they go through hoops and bounds to receive the high or drunken state with anything they can find when the one thing they need in their life goes missing. Some parents have a fear of giving their child alcohol-based products because the thought about them ingesting the contents and becoming fatally drunk. According to Poison Control, “a lick of hand sanitizer will not be fatal to a child or anyone else. It does contain alcohol and so should be stored, like other potential poisons, out of sight and out of reach. Should a child actually drink some, call to Poison Control at 1-800-222-1222 immediately” (Soloway, 2018). Parents should be nervous to give their child an alcohol-based sanitizer, also according to Poison Control, “hand sanitizer is not more dangerous than other sources of alcohol in a child’s environment. You wouldn’t let a child have access to beer, wine, liquor or rubbing alcohol. Also, a child should not have access to mouthwash, facial toner, or hair tonics that contain alcohol” (Soloway, 2018). This article continues to talk about the issue by saying “there are two immediate problems with children and alcohol. The first is that it can lower their blood sugar. In extreme, untreated situations, that can lead to coma and seizures…the second problem is that it can make kids drunk. That doesn’t just mean woozy; it means slow heart rate and breathing” (Soloway, 2018). These issues that can arise when a child ingest a large amount of alcohol-based products can be fatal so it is understandable as to why parents are afraid to give their kids these products without supervision.


Effectively Washing Your Hands

CC By Georgie Sharp

There is a right and a wrong way to effectively wash your hands. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), “hand washing is like a ‘do-it-yourself’ vaccine-it involves five simple and effective steps (wet, lather, scrub, rinse, dry) you can take to reduce the spread of diarrheal and respiratory illness so you can stay healthy” (cdc.gov, 2017). The CDC also gives when you should always wash your hands “before, during and after preparing food, before eating, before and after caring for someone who is sick, before and after treating a cut or wound, after using the toilet, after changing diapers or cleaning up a child who has used the toilet, after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing, after touching an animal, animal feed, or animal waste, after handling pet food or pet treats, and after touching garbage” (cdc.gov, 2017). These are all common sense things to wash your hands after doing the activity however most people do not wash their hands after some of these activities. The CDC also gives detailed instructions on how to wash your hands, “wet your hands with clean, running water (warm or cold), turn off the tap, and apply soap. Lather your hands by rubbing them together with the soap. Be sure to lather the backs of your hands, between your fingers, and under your nails. Scrub your hands for at least 20 seconds. Need a timer? Hum the “Happy Birthday” song from beginning to end twice. Rinse your hands well under clean, running water. Dry your hands using a clean towel or air dry them.” (cdc.gov, 2017). Although, the CDC’s hand washing method is only five steps (when the study below was made the CDC only had a three step method on their website), the World Health Organization’s (WHO) method has six steps. According to the author Reddy, author of Wall Street Journal (online) states, “the world’s two leading public-health bodies list different instructions on their websites for getting your hands clean. A new study found that the six-step hand-hygiene technique recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO) killed greater numbers of germs than the more general, three-step of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention” (Reddy, pg. 1). Considering, now the CDC has a five step method and the WHO has a six step method I would say that they are pretty similar in their effectiveness. Ever want to watch a video on how to effectively wash your hands? Now is your chance!


Safety of Hand Sanitizer

CC By John Herb

Hand sanitizer is a big thing in the world of hospitals, around every corner and in every room there is a hand sanitizer dispenser that gets filled frequently so it never runs dry. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA), has come to a decision that more research needs to be done on hand sanitizer because they are unaware of its effects and if they are worth the time and money spent on the product. The article states, “to fight infections, hospital workers can hit the hand sanitizer a hundred times or more a day. Now, the government wants more study of whether that is safe and how well it actually fights the spread of germs” (cbsnews.com, 2015). The article about the FDA also states, “The FDA wants companies to provide data from both human and animal studies on absorption rates, blood levels, toxicology, and possible links to cancer and hormonal problems. Regulators say they will use this information to determine safety thresholds for users, particularly vulnerable groups like pregnant women and breastfeeding health care workers. The FDA also wants information about possible links between use of antiseptics and the growth of so-called super-bug bacteria, which are resistant to antibodies” (cbsnews.com, 2015). There are many benefits as noted above in this paper, however as seen here there are some huge concerns with hand sanitizers and will be until further research is compiled.


Conclusion

CC By: Arlington County

As I conclude this paper, I still wonder to myself why hand sanitizer is so heavily pushed when there is clear research that there is not enough research to determine if it is safe or not. I believe hand washing should be implemented into hospitals just as it is in doctors’ offices. I do realize that not all hospital rooms have a sink in the main part of the room so I understand some would have the argument that going into a patient’s bathroom to wash your hands with soap and water is invading their space and privacy. However, I do think hospitals would put small sinks at the entrances of patient rooms if hand washing with soap and water was the pushed method of hand hygiene. I also believe that there are times the hand sanitizer should be used but the primary form of hand hygiene that should be performed is for the recommended time and with warm water and soap. Hand sanitizer versus hand washing will always be a prominent debate in the health care field because half of health care pushes one method and the other half pushes the opposite method.


References 

PLN…What Does It Mean To You?

PLN Post  by Heather Dieterle

PLN, most people will not even know what that standards for, me however I do know what it means and I understand it. P is for personal, L is for learning and N is for network. Personal Learning Network, a place for education learning with those already in the work field of your choice. This is a place you can go and express your thoughts freely on certain situations and have feed back from professionals. This twitter has helped me learn different things about the health care field that I may have not known before or may have learned but am learning more about through educational articles that are shared on my timeline.

I built my PLN off of other seniors last semester, I was able to find other IDS seniors twitters and go into who they were following to follow accounts that would benefit my timeline. I also went into big name hospitals twitters and went into who follows them and who they follow to expand my horizon of who I was going to follow.

The tweet I am most proud of from this semester, that I got the most love from is about my survey I put out for my applied project. I truthfully did not expect to get as many responses as I did nonetheless in the amount of time I got all of them in. My favorite tweet of the semester is….

Other tweets I have taken into consideration as my favorite or best posts from the semester are…

As you can see through these blurry pictures (unaware of how to fix that) I have come along way this semester from thinking I was never going to come up with an AP or RA topic to becoming a member of the National Honor Society for Interdisciplinary Studies. I enjoyed the process of this semester even if it made me a tad crazy and stressed out. I am also excited to continue to use my PLN as I travel out of Plymouth State in the next month or so, and to see all the up and coming RA’s and AP’s that are to come from the next batch of seniors to fill the IDS department. A special thanks to Bonnie and Robin for creating a killer year for me in IDS, I wish I had found you both earlier. Props to you both on everything you do and to Robin, good luck going sabbatical I know you’ll miss PSU but I know you’ll also do amazing things while you are gone!

Draft Copy: Don’t Get Caught Germy Handed: Be Aware, Wash with Care

Heather Dieterle

Plymouth State University IDS Student

Capstone Research Article

Don’t Get Caught Germy Handed: Be Aware, Wash with Care (Rough Draft). 

In one health care setting, like a doctor’s office, patients see their health care professionals constantly use warm water and soap to wash their hands before and after they touch their patients. On the other hand, in hospitals patients and their families watch their medical professional use hand sanitizer constantly and never actually watch them wash their hands with warm water and soap. Who’s to say the bottle of hand sanitizer is correct when it says the contents kills 99.9% of bacteria, so why would it be that medical professionals trust a label and use this product so frequently? According to the Global Handwashing Partnership, they state, “In recent years, handwashing with soap and other forms of hand hygiene have been gaining recognitions as a cost-effective, essential tool for achieving good health and nutrition. Now that its effectiveness is no longer in question, the main focus is on how to make handwashing universal” (globalhandwashing.org, 2017). As a former nursing student I have been drilled with enter and exit a room using hand sanitizer to clean my hands. I sit here and try to raise the question of why this is so pressed in hospital settings. I know, as a patient stand point I enjoy seeing my medical staff using warm water and soap as opposed to sanitizer when entering my room. I can understand the fact of when exiting the room or in an emergency situation to use hand sanitizer however when a non-emergency situation arises I believe we, as medical staff, should be using warm water and soap in replace of hand sanitizer. I try to raise this question primarily because I care about giving my patients the best care I can give them and if that means I have to spend fifteen seconds using a sink I will.

Hand washing is something we learn around first grade, I can remember since I was little about being taught the ‘sing happy birthday’ to yourself rule. Fifteen seconds that is all it takes it effectively wash your hands. According to Markel, he states, “nevertheless, approximately 5% to 10% of all hospitalized patients in the developed world acquire infections from health care workers who forgot to wash their hands” (Markel, pg. 447).

CC By: Tim Arnold

Although these percentages are fairly low, they should technically be much lower than they are currently. 5-10% is considerably high due to the fact that this hospital acquired diseases can be completely prevented. Also according to Markel, “hand hygiene is a relatively new wrinkle in the long history of disease and health. It did not become a bona fide medical prescription until 1847 when Ignaz Semmelweis began exhorting his fellow physicians at the famed Vienna General Hospital (Allgemeines Krankenhaus) to wash up before examining women about to deliver babies” (Markel, pg. 447-448). For something that is such second nature in the medical field today was something that completely was ignored for a very long period of time in history. A point in hand washing history, there was a time where surgeons did not know the efficacy of washing their hands before placing them into someone’s body. Another statement made by Markel that stood out to me is “incorporating the habit of frequently washing our hands in our daily lives is a simple but powerful health policy we can all wrap our hands arounds, provided there is plenty of water and a bar of soap between them” (Markel, pg. 451). This statement is proof of how easy it is to have hand washing in our daily activities, to me hand washing is very important piece of day to day life. According to the Center for Diseases Control and Prevention (CDC) states, “it is estimated that washing hands with soap and water could reduce diarrheal disease-associated deaths by up to 50%. Researchers in London estimated that if everyone routinely washed their hands, a million deaths a year could be prevented. A large percentage of foodborne disease outbreaks are spread by contaminated hands. Appropriate hand washing practices can reduce the risk of foodborne illness and other infections. Handwashing can reduce the risk of respiratory infections by 16%. The use of an alcohol gel hand sanitizer in the classroom provided an overall reduction in absenteeism due to infection by 19.8% among 16 elementary schools and 6,000 students” (cdc.gov, 2013). With these statistics alone, the spread of disease can be decreased significantly.

Hand sanitizer has become a widely known method of hand washing. These are alcohol-based gel products that allow for quick hand hygiene when there is not time for warm water and soap. According to Microchem Laboratory, they state, “hand sanitizers do not serve as a replacement for thorough handwashing. Instead, they are thought to bring consumers some of the benefits of handwashing when handwashing is not practical” (microchemlab.com, 2017). Hand sanitizer was made to be a quick efficient way to try to get bacteria off of hands while in a fast paced environment.

CC By John Herb

Also stated by Microchem Laboratory, “the relationship between hand sanitizer use and reduced illness has not been firmly established by epidemiological studies, but several laboratory studies suggest hand sanitizers help to prevent infections by killing transient pathogenic bacteria” (microchemlab.com, 2017). If hand sanitizer has not been proven to reduce illness why is it so firmly pressed in schools, airports and especially in hospitals? According to Haas and Larson, “the increased use of alcohol-based hand sanitizers at many health care institutions has made hand hygiene more convenient and less time-consuming. Hand sanitizers reduce the need for sinks. The dispensers are small and can be made accessible at every stage of patient care; some dispensers can be worn or carried in a pocket” (Haas & Larson, pg. 41).

CC By: Valerie Everett

Hand sanitizer, to me, seemed to be made for convenience and only somewhat for effectiveness. The authors Reynolds, Levy, and Walker state in their article Hand Sanitizer Alert, “some products marketed to the public as antimicrobial hand sanitizers are not effective in reducing bacterial counts on hands. In the course of a classroom demonstration of the comparative efficacy of hospital-grade antimicrobial soap and alcohol-based sanitizers, a product with 40 percent ethanol as the active ingredient was purchased at a retail discount store” (Reynolds, Levy & Walker, pg. 48). Burton, author of Wall Street Journal (online) states, “the Food and Drug Administration is proposing a requirement that markers of antibacterial sanitizing products submit data on safety and effectiveness if they want to stay on the market” (Burton, pg. 1). Hand sanitizers are monitored by the FDA, I think what the FDA is asking of hand sanitizer production companies is only to ensure the safety of the consumer.

With any type of issue, there are always barriers in the situation. Hand hygiene is no different. According to Haas and Larson, barriers to hand hygiene, “a lack of access to sinks, a lack of time, dry, chapped skin on hands, ignorance, the high cost of products and initiatives, a divided health care culture, and insufficient personal accountability” (Haas & Larson, pg. 42). For most of these barriers reported, I noticed that more than half have the solution of using alcohol-based hand sanitizer was a potential solution to the barrier. I was able to find a very interesting article on the internet about 11 different barriers to hand hygiene compliance. According to Rodak, “time pressure is one of the biggest reported barriers to hand hygiene compliance among healthcare workers, according to a study in Infection Control and Hospital Epidemiology” (Rodak, 2013). This author also states “in a survey, the participants identified 11 barriers to compliance:

‘I hurry/emergent patient conditions’ at 45.5%, ‘I don’t see any dirt/I think it’s not dirty’ at 24.4%, ‘I forget’ at 15.4%, ‘It is inconvenient’ at 13.8%, ‘I don’t care’ at 8.1%, ‘I’m lazy’ at 5.7%, ‘I wear gloves/no direct contact with patients’ at 4.9%, ‘There are adverse effects of soap/cleanser’ at 4.9%, ‘It wastes time’ at 4.1%, and lastly ‘My hands are clean’ at 2.4%.” (Rodak, 2013).

I think all 11 of these answers to ‘hand washing barriers’ are completely wrong answers. I do not see how someone could determine whether or not they will wash their hands based on if they see dirt or not. I can understand the largest answers being in a hurry or emergent patient conditions however they still at the minimum use of alcohol-based hand sanitizer.

As with many other things, hand washing has its own benefits. According to Morgan, she states benefits of hand washing are “reduces risk in medical settings, lowers risk of diarrhea and intestinal problems, prevents eye infections, and lowers respiratory infection risk” (Morgan, 2017).

CC By: jm3

The most important benefit that I see through my eyes is the reducing the risk in medical settings. According to the author, “hand washing is a simple yet vital behavior in hospitals and other medical facilities. Its importance was first realized in a Vienna hospital in the 19th century. Maternity patients were dying at a high rate. Dr. Ignaz Semmelweis started ordering his staff members to wash their hands before treating the patients, drastically lowering the death rate as a result. The transfer of bacteria from cadavers to the patients from the staff’s hands was the culprit in the deaths. Ensuring that today’s medical professionals make hand washing a priority is essential” (Morgan, 2017). I believe this is the most important benefit because stopping the spread of disease and bacteria from caregiver to the patient. Just like hand washing, hand sanitizer also has benefits. According to the Minnesota Department of Health, “waterless hand sanitizer provides several advantages over hand washing with soap and water. However, they are not effective if organic matter (dirt, food, or other material)” (health.state.mn.us, 2016). Also according to the same site, the benefits of hand sanitizer are “require less time than hand washing, act quickly to kill microorganisms on hands, are more accessible than sinks, reduce bacterial counts on hands, do not promote antimicrobial resistance, are less irritating to skin than soap and water, some can even improve condition of skin” (health.state.mn.us, 2016). These benefits help give hand sanitizer a good reputation however I still personally believe that hand washing is much better for the health of a hospital patient. On the other hand, hand sanitizer has known disadvantages along with its benefits. According to livestrong.com, hand sanitizers disadvantages are “cleaning effectiveness, endocrine system disruption, danger to children, and flammable products” (Moore, 2017). The biggest disadvantage to hand sanitizer of these I believe is the cleaning effectiveness. According to Moore, she states, “using hand sanitizers does not replace hand washing, as explained by the Captial Region Board of Cooperative Educational Services (BOCES). If hands have visible dirt, these sanitizers don’t remove it very well. When hand sanitizers are used in schools or other facilities, the budget still must include money to buy soap. Additionally, consumer antiseptic use has not been demonstrated as being more effective than soap and water in any place other than a health care setting” (Moore, 2017). When hand sanitizer is used in the wrong aspect and wrong time can lead to the spread of bacteria and disease to patients in hospitals as well as to healthy people which then can also spread to those who may even just have a cold. The spread of infection is rapidly increasing in the hospital setting which is sad because it is something that can be prevented, this topic is very important to the medical field and needs to be a topic and subject that is talked about more than it is. I believe that this topic is one of the most important pieces one learns when in the medical field.

When you hear an “alcohol-based” product hand sanitizer some people may fret at the thought of giving this product to a child or someone who is an alcoholic. The accessibility of alcohol-based sanitizer is easy to obtain, however it is even easier to receive it in a hospital based setting. A study done states, “a 46-year old man with a medical history significant for bipolar disorder, chronic hepatitis C, type 2 diabetes mellitus, and alcohol abuse was treated at tertiary medical center after being found unconscious in a local grocery store. The patient later said he ingested an unknown amount of alcohol-containing hand sanitizer and mouthwash for intentional alcohol abuse” (Berberet, Burda, Breier, & Lodolce, pg. 2203-2204).

CC By: uncoolbob

As this study went on, this 46-year old man, continued to ingest alcohol-based products that were readily available to him on his hospital floor. When one is addicted to a substance, they go through hoops and bounds to receive the high or drunken state with anything they can find when the one thing they need in their life goes missing. Some parents have a fear of giving their child alcohol-based products because the thought about them ingesting the contents and becoming fatally drunk. According to Poison Control, “a lick of hand sanitizer will not be fatal to a child or anyone else. It does contain alcohol and so should be stored, like other potential poisons, out of sight and out of reach. Should a child actually drink some, call to Poison Control at 1-800-222-1222 immediately” (Soloway, 2018). Parents should be nervous to give their child an alcohol-based sanitizer, also according to Poison Control, “hand sanitizer is not more dangerous than other sources of alcohol in a child’s environment. You wouldn’t let a child have access to beer, wine, liquor or rubbing alcohol. Also, a child should not have access to mouthwash, facial toner, or hair tonics that contain alcohol” (Soloway, 2018). This article continues to talk about the issue by saying “there are two immediate problems with children and alcohol. The first is that it can lower their blood sugar. In extreme, untreated situations, that can lead to coma and seizures…the second problem is that it can make kids drunk. That doesn’t just mean woozy; it means slow heart rate and breathing” (Soloway, 2018). These issues that can arise when a child ingest a large amount of alcohol-based products can be fatal so it is understandable as to why parents are afraid to give their kids these products without supervision.

There is a right and a wrong way to effectively wash your hands. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), “handwashing is like a ‘do-it-yourself’ vaccine-it involves five simple and effective steps (wet, lather, scrub, rinse, dry) you can take to reduce the spread of diarrheal and respiratory illness so you can stay healthy” (cdc.gov, 2017). The CDC also gives when you should always wash your hands “before, during and after preparing food, before eating, before and after caring for someone who is sick, before and after treating a cut or wound, after using the toilet, after changing diapers or cleaning up a child who has used the toilet, after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing, after touching an animal, animal feed, or animal waste, after handling pet food or pet treats, and after touching garbage” (cdc.gov, 2017). These are all common sense things to wash your hands after doing the activity however most people do not wash their hands after some of these activities. The CDC also gives detailed instructions on how to wash your hands, “wet your hands with clean, running water (warm or cold), turn off the tap, and apply soap. Lather your hands by rubbing them together with the soap. Be sure to lather the backs of your hands, between your fingers, and under your nails. Scrub your hands for at least 20 seconds. Need a timer? Hum the “Happy Birthday” song from beginning to end twice. Rinse your hands well under clean, running water. Dry your hands using a clean towel or air dry them.” (cdc.gov, 2017).

CC By: Arlington County

Although, the CDC’s hand washing method is only five steps (when the study below was made the CDC only had a three step method on their website), the World Health Organization’s (WHO) method has six steps. According to the author Reddy, author of Wall Street Journal (online) states, “the world’s two leading public-health bodies list different instructions on their websites for getting your hands clean. A new study found that the six-step hand-hygiene technique recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO) killed greater numbers of germs than the more general, three-step of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention” (Reddy, pg. 1). Considering, now the CDC has a five step method and the WHO has a six step method I would say that they are pretty similar in their effectiveness. Follow the link to watch a video on how to effectively wash your hands living up to medical nursing standards: http://plymouth.kanopy.com/video/nursing-activities-daily-living-and-client-observations-fundamentals?pos=5 .

Hand sanitizer is a big thing in the world of hospitals, around every corner and in every room there is a hand sanitizer dispenser that gets filled frequently so it never runs dry. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA), has come to a decision that more research needs to be done on hand sanitizer because they are unaware of its effects and if they are worth the time and money spent on the product. The article states, “to fight infections, hospital workers can hit the hand sanitizer a hundred times or more a day. Now, the government wants more study of whether that is safe and how well it actually fights the spread of germs” (cbsnews.com, 2015).

CC By: Liz West

The article about the FDA also states, “The FDA wants companies to provide data from both human and animal studies on absorption rates, blood levels, toxicology, and possible links to cancer and hormonal problems. Regulators say they will use this information to determine safety thresholds for users, particularly vulnerable groups like pregnant women and breastfeeding health care workers. The FDA also wants information about possible links between use of antiseptics and the growth of so-called superbug bacteria, which are resistant to antibodies” (cbsnews.com, 2015). There are many benefits as noted above in this paper, however as seen here there are some huge concerns with hand sanitizers and will be until further research is compiled.

As I conclude this paper, I still wonder to myself why hand sanitizer is so heavily pushed when there is clear research that there is not enough research to determine if it is safe or not. I believe hand washing should be implemented into hospitals just as it is in doctors’ offices. I do realize that not all hospital rooms have a sink in the main part of the room so I understand some would have the argument that going into a patient’s bathroom to wash your hands with soap and water is invading their space and privacy. However, I do think hospitals would put small sinks at the entrances of patient rooms if hand washing with soap and water was the pushed method of hand hygiene. I also believe that there are times the hand sanitizer should be used but the primary form of hand hygiene that should be performed is for the recommended time and with warm water and soap. Hand sanitizer versus hand washing will always be a prominent debate in the health care field because half of health care pushes one method and the other half pushes the opposite method.

References

A. (2015, April 30). FDA raises questions about hospital hand sanitizers. Retrieved April 16, 2018, from https://www.cbsnews.com/news/fda-raises-questions-about-hospital-hand sanitizers/

Bookstaver, P. B., Norris, L. B., & Michels, J. E. (2008). Ingestion of hand sanitizer by a  hospitalized patient with a history of alcohol abuse. American Journal of Health-System Pharmacy, 65(23), 2203-2204. Retrieved April 16, 2018, from   http://search.ebscohost.com.libproxy.plymouth.edu/login.aspx?direct=true&db=c8h&A=105587404&site=ehost-live&authtype=sso&custid=plymouth

Burton, T. M. (2016). FDA Seeks Proof of Safety, Effectiveness of Hand-Sanitizing Products; Agency proposes new rules on makers of antibacterial products as usage grows. Wall Street Journal (online), 1-3. Retrieved April 16, 2018.

Cleaning Hands with Sanitizer. (2016, October 3). Retrieved April 16, 2018, from    http://www.health.state.mn.us/handhygiene/clean/howrub.html

Haas, J. P., & Larson, E. L. (2008). Compliance with Hand Hygiene Guidelines: Where Are We   in 2008? The American Journal of Nursing, 108(8), 41-42. Retrieved April 16, 2018, from http://www.jstor.org.libproxy.plymouth.edu/stable/pdf/40384738.pdf?refreqid=e xcelsior:22af9c2693f2734d410395ebef9a3bc8

Handwashing: Clean Hands Save Lives. (2016, March 07). Retrieved April 16, 2018, from https://www.cdc.gov/handwashing/when-how-handwashing.html

Markel, H. (2015, September 1). Wash Your Hands! Retrieved April 16, 2018, from http://search.ebscohost.com.libproxy.plymouth.edu/login.aspx?direct=true&db=aph&A=109324273&site=ehost-live&authtype=sso&custid=plymouth doi:10.1111/1468  0009.12128

Microchem Laboratory. (2017, August 8). Retrieved April 16, 2018, from            http://microchemlab.com/information_about_hand_sanitizers

Moore, S. (2017, July 18). The Disadvantages of Hand Sanitizers. Retrieved April 16, 2018, from https://www.livestrong.com/article/94967-disadvantages-hand-sanitizers/

Morgan, R. (2017, July 18). What Are the Benefits of Hand Washing? Retrieved April 16, 2018, from https://www.livestrong.com/article/353130-what-are-the-benefits-of-hand-washing/

Pickering, A. J., Boehm, A. B., Mwanjali, M., & Davis, J. (2010, February). Efficacy of Waterless Hand Hygiene Compared with Handwashing with Soap: A Field Study in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. Retrieved from    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2813169/

Reddy, S. (2016). The Right Way to Wash Your Hands; A new study found the WHO’s detailed cleaning method killed more germs than the CDC’s less specific instructions. Wall Street Journal (online), 1-4. Retrieved April 16, 2018.

Reynolds, S. A., Levy, F., & Walker, E. S. (2006). Hand Sanitizer Alert. Journal of        Environmental Health, 69(4), 48-51. Retrieved April 16, 2018, from            http://search.ebscohost.com.libproxy.plymouth.edu/login.aspx?direct=true&db=aph&A=22885217&site=ehost-live&authtype=sso&custid=plymouth

Rodak, S. (2013, September 30). 11 Barriers to Hand Hygiene Compliance. Retrieved April 16,   2018, from https://www.beckersasc.com/asc-quality-infection-control/11-barriers-to-hand-hygiene-compliance.html

The Bottom Line. (2018). Retrieved April 16, 2018, from https://www.poison.org/articles/2007jun/hand-sanitizer-whats-the-real-story

The Global Handwashing Partnership. (2017). Retrieved April 16, 2018, from           https://globalhandwashing.org/about-handwashing/history-of-handwashing/

Water, Sanitation & Environmentally-related Hygiene. (2013, July 08). Retrieved April 16, 2018, from https://www.cdc.gov/healthywater/hygiene/fast_facts.html

Here is a link to my literature search which is where I got most of my sources from: https://docs.google.com/document/d/15hFyZtZnZvGtc9UHINzWF_SeVhbUMs-Xq17Kvxtr_ZM/edit

 

Literature Search for my Research Article

Now, I am not going to lie about this, this assignment was not my favorite in the least. Here I am just a little over a month away from graduation and I have this huge project sitting in front of me, scary I know, right?

CC by Charly W. Karl

Well, I have definitely been ahead of all my work until now. This assignment has been in the works for just about a month, for the last about 3 weeks I have had 3 sources on my chart up until yesterday when I sat down in the library for 2 and a half hours and banged out 10 more sources I can use for my RA. I have been feeling the nerves and the stress about this RA and AP laying on my shoulders however I know once I complete them both I will feel the up most accomplishment I can considering how complicated my topic is. Until then, I plan to keep plugging away at these two huge pieces of the semester! Also, please bare with me as this chart makes this post extra long! Also quick side note: my citation will be completed once I use the source in my RA so yes, I know I don’t have them in the chart currently!

*Note: this chart is subject to change if I find more sources.*

Article Title Citation Words Used To Find Article Disciplines Main Concept Quotes (How I’ll use it in RA)
Wash Your Hands! Handwashing & history Medical / Science  

Hand washing history

“Nevertheless, approximately 5% to 10% of all hospitalized patients in the developed world acquire infections from health care workers who forgot to wash their hands”
Hygiene Fast Facts Hand washing with soap and water statistics Medical / Science / Nursing CDC recommend-ations for cleanliness “It is estimated that washing hands with soap and water could reduce diarrheal disease-associated deaths by up to 50%”
Handwashing: Clean Hands Save Lives Hand washing with soap and water statistics Medical / Science / Nursing CDC how correct hand washing can save lives “Handwashing is like a “do-it-yourself” vaccine—it involves five simple and effective steps (Wet, Lather, Scrub, Rinse, Dry) you can take to reduce the spread of diarrheal and respiratory illness so you can stay healthy.”
The Right Way to Wash Your Hands Hand washing Medical / Science / Nursing WHO’s discovery of how to wash your hands correctly “A new study found that the six-step hand-hygiene technique recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO) killed greater numbers of germs than the more general, three-step instructions of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention”
FDA Seeks Proof of Safety, Effectiveness of Hand-Sanitizing Products Hand washing in hospitals Medical /

Science /

Nursing

The FDA’s opinion on whether or not alcohol-based hand sanitizers are successful “The Food and Drug Administration is proposing a requirement that makers of antibacterial hand sanitizing products submit data on safety and effectiveness if they want to stay on the market.”
The Hand Book: Surviving in a Germ Filled World Hand washing and history Medical / Science / Nursing A book about surviving in a germ infested world “Many species of bacteria dwell on our skin; one study found that more than a thousand different species make up the human skin microbiome, the community of bacteria that live on our skin, all over the body”
Hand Hygiene – routine social hand wash Hand washing and hand hygiene Medical / Science / Nursing Video about hand washing A great video going over hand washing (listen for quotes)
Hand Washing and Surgical Hand Antisepsis Hand washing and hand hygiene Medical / Science / Nursing Is hand washing effective when practitioners perform it “Hand washing is an effective method of reducing the transmission of organisms from one person to another. However, there remains confusion as to how effective healthcare practitioners are at performing this basic infection control measure”
Experiences of hand hygiene among acute care nurses: An interpretative phenomeno-logical analysis Hand sanitizing and hand hygiene Medical / Science / Nursing A study done to determine hand hygiene in acute care nurses “This theme includes examples in which participants described how to attain hygiene. For participants, personal attainment was achieved either primarily through soap and water or primarily through sanitizer or, in some instances, using a combination of soap followed by sanitizer. Nurses who preferred soap tended to self-associate this with mature age. We clustered those findings in a subtheme titled soap is for old people”
Compliance with Hand Hygiene Guidelines: Where Are We in 2008? Hand sanitizing and hand care Medical / Science / Nursing Hand hygiene guidelines and compliance to it “The increased use of alcohol-based hand sanitizers at many health care institutions has made hand hygiene more convenient and less time-consuming. Hand sanitizers reduce the need for sinks. The dispensers are small and can be made accessible at every stage of patient care; some dispensers can be worn or carried in a pocket.”
Hand Washing Hand washing and hopsitals Medical / Science / Nursing / Health Care Overview of hand washing in hospitals “Common sense and nursing research tells us there is at least one simple intervention, known about for at least two centuries, which would cost very little to implement: hand washing, the simple act of applying hot soapy water to our manual extremities before and after treatment of patients.”
Hand Sanitizer Alert Hand sanitizer Medical / Science /  Nursing Hand sanitizer and its effects “Some products marketed to the public as antimicrobial hand sanitizers are not effective in reducing bacterial counts on hands. In the course of a classroom demonstration of the comparative efficacy of hospital-grade antimicrobial soap and alcohol-based sanitizers, a product with 40 percent ethanol as the active ingredient was purchased at a retail discount store”
Ingestion of hand sanitizer by a hospitalized patient with a  history of alcohol abuse Hand sanitizer and alcohol Medical / Science / Nursing Study based off an alcoholic patient who consumed hand sanitizer “A 46-year-old man with a medical history significant for bipolar disorder, chronic hepatitis C, type 2 diabetes mellitus, and alcohol abuse was treated at a tertiary medical center after being found unconscious in a local grocery store. The patient later said he ingested an unknown amount of alcohol containing hand sanitizer and mouthwash for intentional alcohol abuse.”

 

A Really Big Word For Outline: Prospectuses

Prospectus for Research Article: (brainstorm ideas)

  • Title of my article: “Don’t Get Caught Germy Handed: Be Aware; Wash With Care”

    CC By Open Source Images
  • Description: How is it possible that in one health care setting they promote hand washing onto their employees however in a different setting they encourage hand sanitizing? A deeper look into the key differences and history behind both will come to a conclusion of which of the two is better not only for the patient but for the medical professional as well.
  • Goals: I came up with this idea for my research article because being a former nursing student I have seen first hand the push created in hospitals for hand sanitizing upon entering a patients room as well as leaving a patients room. For me, I sit here and wonder why hand sanitizing is pushed instead of hand washing. Is it because hand sanitizer takes less time than hand washing? The importance of this research is strictly to make sure hospitals are giving the best care possible to their patients can we be overlooking the obvious that maybe, just maybe we are hurting our patients more by using sanitizer. I hope this impacts others to see the differences between hand sanitizer and hand washing and the importance of actual hand washing instead of always just sanitizing. The fields I hope mainly to impact is nursing, health and biology.
  • Conclusion: Throughout the semester doing research on this topic I hope to come to a conclusion of why hand sanitizer is pushed so hard in hospitals and why hand washing is not. I hope to have an impact through this research on my readers as well as health care professionals to maybe start making a change in the way we wash and sanitize our hands.
  • Timeline: Over the next few weeks I will be going online looking for sources as well as using the online library databases to find articles supporting my research. I also hope to find studies done comparing the two different hand washing ways. I will keep a check list running of important due dates listed on the syllabus to maintain a stress free work environment for myself as I want to stay on track and even potentially ahead of the syllabus due dates.

Prospectus for Applied Project: (brainstorm ideas )

  • Title: “What’s Your Take Hand Washing or Hand Sanitizing?” – Blog Title: “Seeing Is Believing, But You Can’t See Germs”

    CC By Georgie Sharp
  • Description: For this applied project I am going to seek the help of health care professionals as well as future health care professionals (senior nursing students) and interview them on their take about the situation I am researching in my research article. I wanted to be able to tie together the two projects to be able to come full circle with the ideas of hand washing or hand sanitizing. I also would like to interview everyday people who could be patients and see what they have to say about the topic. In the end I am making a blog about my experiences with these different interviews and comparing the responses I receive.
  • Goals: The reason why I am doing this AP is similar to the reason why I am doing my research article. This topic has always intrigued my interest and I frequently wonder why health care professionals do not extend the extra two minutes to actually wash their hands. I hope to have a little impact on the health care field and maybe hit home to some people enough to make a change in the health care system.
  • Deliverable: I will be making a blog of all the interviews I do and putting the link attached to my ePort as well as getting my blog url out there in the social media world through my PLN on twitter.
  • Conclusion: In the end of this applied project I really want to know others opinions of the ideas and topics because I understand the health care field and want to use others opinions when making my own decisions. I truly just want to give my patients the 100 percent best care I can when I become a nurse over the next couple years.
  • Timeline: Over the next few weeks I will start putting together my blog post and start thinking about who I want to interview. Once I decide who to interview I will be emailing and asking their approval to do so. I will continue to stay on track with all the work and due dates given to me on the syllabus for the course.

Brainstorming Ideas To A Better Future

You’d be surprised, even those who are passionate about their field still tend to struggle when given the opportunity to choose what they want to research. I for one definitely struggled to think of an idea to research and apply in the community because Health Science is such a board topic and has many disciplines. I thought of one project that could benefit to both my research article as well as my applied project.

CC By Glidea Web Consulting

This brainstorming activity was supposed to be five different ideas that I could use however since I struggled to come up with just one idea I took it upon myself to decide that my time brainstorming would be more beneficial to expand on my topic I plan on completing my senior capstone project with. As follows are the ideas I have come up with for both my research article and applied project:

Research Article:

CC By John Herb

Research why hand sanitizing is so prominent in hospitals and why that is pushed instead of hand washing.

  • This interest me because as a future nurse I want to be able to give the best care to my patients but if hand sanitizing is not the best option for my patients why would I do something that could potentially harm my patients. I find it interesting because in doctors’ offices they come into the room and wash their hands before anything else, so why is it different in hospitals?
  • Major challenge of this idea: struggling to find sources that could prove which way is the best to provide good hand hygiene in hospitals
  • Key disciplines: nursing, health & human performance

Applied project:

CC By Matt Brown

Interview nursing professors, nursing students, reach out to speare hospital to talk to doctors or just hospital staff, as well as normal everyday humans who could be patients to see what they know or how they feel about hand hygiene in hospitals. Create a new blog to place all of the interview information as an educational place people can go.

  • This interests me because I want to know how everyone else feels about this situation to try to make a change if there should be one.
  • Major challenge: reaching out to people to interview, going outside of my comfort zone.

 

“How My Childhood Curiosity Lead Me To This Moment In Time And How I Plan To Do Something About It”

At a very young age I was exposed to this sport which many of my classmates made fun of me for being so in love with. That sport is karate, when my mom signed me up for dance lessons at the age of 5 I had entirely no interest. I sat down in the lobby and cried because all I wanted to do was karate. I don’t exactly remember why or how I got the idea of karate at such a young age however I do remember one of my friends participating in karate class before I started.

A test during my time with Karate

My mom reluctantly let me begin karate, her only daughter, I’m sure she was hesitant because every mom wants that girly-girl daughter that does dance; well to say the least that wasn’t me. I was the total opposite to be exact, I wore soccer uniforms to school and loved wearing basketball shorts, I was the epitome of a TomBoy growing up.

Flash forward to seventh grade, I had the biggest test of my life appearing at my finger tips, no not a school related test. However, still an educational test, I was going into a room for five whole hours to compete for my right to become a black belt. I can remember the fear of doing karate for five hours straight with endless push-ups, combinations, kempos and katas.

Demonstrating at a middle school

I was in that moment because that’s what I wanted to be, I wanted to stand proud and say I am a black belt in Kempo karate. There was about 20 of us in that room that day, now mind you the studio was small and I mean like maybe comfortably with 20 people in there you’d survive and be okay however this day I swear the temperature in the room was above 100 degrees. All of us kids, testing for our black belts were drenched in sweat, pools and pools of sweat. By the end of the five hours, every one succeeded and we all accomplished our goals of going into that studio coming out successfully with a black belt in hand.

As I relate this experience in time to Interdisciplinary Studies I realize that they are similar to each other. I grew up and most people made fun of me for being a girl in karate, however I could take on anyone of the boys in my classes. I relate this because I started out in Nursing, however when that plan fell through I decided to change my major leading into senior year. Now you can imagine, everyone thought I was crazy and thought I should just stay and try to get back into this program however I knew I wanted to go an obscure way with my process with becoming a nurse. So there I am a five year old little girl that didn’t want to dance and wanted to be different and go with karate.

Receiving a new belt during a test

My education at this point is just like being that five year old little girl choosing to be in the “norms” or I could go outside the box and not let others decide what sport I compete in. The same goes for my career to be a nurse, I will not go through my time becoming a nurse with the thought that if I don’t get there in one direction I’ll never get there. Well it’s not true, working hard and working for yourself and putting yourself first will always overcome the “norms” and putting you exactly where others are but maybe just by taking different roads to get there.

A Semester with Interdisciplinary Studies

At first, Interdisciplinary Studies was scary for me, as a senior and I was coming into something new on the first day of what was supposed to be my last first day of school ever. Being a senior you never envision having no idea what you are going to graduate with the summer prior to school beginning. IDS was my answer, I would be able to graduate on time and leave Plymouth exactly when I planned so four years ago. IDS was an escape for me, I was not sure about any of the program, I just knew it would get me back home in Massachusetts exactly when I wanted to be. Throughout the semester, even within just the first few months, I knew IDS was going to change my original picture of what I was going to accomplish with this degree. Coming into the September month, knowing I was starting an entire new program, I had no idea what to think of the Introduction to Interdisciplinary Studies class except that I knew I was going to be taught in a whole new way with a new outlook on the way education should be taught. Back in August when I started to think about taking the path of IDS, I was not fully sure on what interdisciplinarity even meant. I went into this knowing that I would somehow morph different subjects and different classes to make a major that suited me, however I still was unclear about what interdisciplinarity really meant.

Throughout the semester, I was able to expand my knowledge about how prevalent interdisciplinarity is in today’s society without even realizing it. I now define interdisciplinarity as being able to combine more than one subject or option and morph them into one bigger picture. For example, I used biology, psychology, health education, physical education and nursing all to make health science. One quote that has stuck with me since I read the article is from the article “Big Terms” it states, “’Interdisciplinarity’ is more like a fruit smoothie, where the disciplines are blended together – integrated – to create something

CC BY Duncan C

new.” During the semester we learned a lot about different aspects of IDS, one being the quote stated above. I can relate this to my program I constructed because I have many disciplines that I combined to form my major. Another portion of the semester that I took a lot away from for my major was creating a Personal Learning Network. This assignment allowed me to expand my resources for those in health care fields. I was able to reach out and retrieve more information about health than I would have been able to in a normal classroom. The last piece of this semester that has stuck out to me the most is the portion of learning that is publishing to the web. I have never experienced this type of learning before however, I thought it was a great asset because all of my work the entire semester was right in front of me all in one place without any hassle. Plus making an ePort has helped my confidence in writing anyone can take a look at and critique my work.

Interdisciplinarity matters to universities all over the world because we use it every day without evening realizing that we are doing so. Majors that are technically not interdisciplinary per say, still use interdisciplinarity because they have prerequisites that are through different disciplines although they are not actually in the major, they still are required to take classes in other departments. As for PSU, I hope students in the future become more aware of what great of a program IDS is. I feel as though there is somewhat of a stigma with IDS because not everyone understands what we learn or how we can make our own majors. I hope within the next few years students can understand the benefits of the IDS program at PSU.

CC By Blake Gumprecht

As for me, my hope is to soon be accepted into an accelerated 16 month bachelor of science to registered nurse program down in Massachusetts. My goal is to be a nurse in Boston by the end of the next 3 years.

PLN….What’s It Good For?

PLN…not sure what it is? Well, it is a Personal Learning Network. At first, I was a little skeptical as to what this was going to do for me or if it were worth my time, but I soon came to realize how beneficial this was and is to my work in Health Science.

The excitement on my face shows how ready I was to graduate high school and move onto college
picture by Heather Dieterle

When I first started to work on my PLN I was a little nervous as to how I was going to find things that related to Health Science. I took to asking an older IDS student how she began, she gave me some tips like to find IDS students who had a similar program and go to their followers. I was able to reach into others who follow health related twitter accounts. I then went into health accounts and looked at who they were following and chose certain ones that I thought would relate to me in my Health Science career. I also followed the students in my IDS intro class to further my outreach because I figured they would have some interesting thoughts and ideas about class and class assignments that they would contribute to their twitter feed.

A Personal Learning Network enhances many aspects of one’s life, for example, their education, their major specifically, and their future in their department of which they chose to explore in depth about.

photo by Scott Beale / Laughing Squid
This photo is licensed under a Creative Commons license. If you use this photo within the terms of the license or make special arrangements to use the photo, please list the photo credit as “Scott Beale / Laughing Squid” and link the credit to http://laughingsquid.com.

For myself personally, I chose to keep my PLN sort of small for this first semester because I did not want to be bombarded with a large twitter feed that I felt over whelmed by. I believe my PLN can enhance my future in Health Science because I know if I tweet a question or concern I could have an answer within minutes. Also, when others tweet articles they get posted to my feed which then allows me to better my education by reading such articles that related to health in some way, even if it is small. Going forward with my degree in Health Science, I plan to keep my PLN and continue to have outreach through that because it keeps me up to date with everything going on in the health field.

Check out my storify which includes tweets I have produced and retweeted over the semester!