One of the most important skills you must learn during CNA training is how to properly wash your hands. Proper hand washing is a skill you will use all day every day, before, after, and even during certain tasks. Hand washing removes visible dirt, but it also gets rid of all of those invisible microorganisms on your hands that can cause diseases and infections.
While you learned in CNA training how effective hand washing can be for prevention of disease transmission and controlling infections, the most essential part of this skill is how is it performed. This is because if you don’t do it correctly, all of those benefits fly out the window. In other words, you may not get rid of all those germs, even if you do wash your hands, because you aren’t performing the skill correctly.
This is where your CNA training comes in handy. During CNA training, you were taught the proper way to wash your hands, and were even required to demonstrate this skill during your state test in order to receive your certification.
If you have become lax in your hand washing skills, or you just need a little reminder of how to do it correctly, here are a few tips that will help.
Washing Your Hands After CNA Training
- Remove all jewelry, including bracelets, rings, and watches before you wash your hands. Germs can hide beneath and on these objects.
- Turn on the water in the faucet, making sure it is warm. You want the water to be comfortable and not so hot that it will burn your hands while you are washing. As you learned in CNA training, wet your hands, up to the wrists.
- Using liquid or foam soap (never bar soap) squeeze a dime-sized amount of soap onto your hands. Bar soap can harbor germs and should never be used after CNA training.
- Lather the soap all over your hands and wrists. This should be done for at least thirty seconds. You can count out loud or in your head, however, in my CNA training class, they taught us that you could sing the ABC song or Happy Birthday song so ensure you lather for the correct amount of time. As you lather, rub your hands together to create a good amount of friction. This will help get rid of the germs. Also, make sure to work the soap around and under your fingernails to kill any germs that may be hiding there.
- As you wash, pay special attention to the position of your hands. Your hands should always face downward to prevent microorganisms from travelling up your arms. Pay attention to where you are standing and where your hands are as well. Don’t let your clothing or your body touch the sink, and if your hands touch the sink or faucet, start the process of washing your hands over again.
- During CNA training, you will have learned that hand washing should last for a complete minute if you have come into contact with urine, mucus, blood, or vomit: even if you were wearing gloves.
- Rinse your hands off with warm water and dry your hands with a hot air dryer or paper towel. Avoid using cloth towels, as they can harbor germs when used more than once. Do not flick your fingers or shake your hands to dry them.
- Once your hands are dry, take a paper towel and use it to turn off the faucet. Do not touch the faucet with your bare skin, or you could allow germs to contaminate your hands again.
Always Wash Your Hands After CNA Training
After CNA training, washing your hands should become second nature. You should automatically do it each time you enter and leave a room, before you perform a procedure, and every time you assist a patient. Make sure you know how to perform this skill properly so you can prevent infection and the spread of disease after CNA training.