As a CNA, you should always be aware and follow the guidelines you were taught in CNA training about the universal precautions needed to avoid becoming contaminated with blood-borne pathogens. These steps are not only simple to execute, but they are also essential after CNA training because they prevent infections, diseases, and illnesses that can be causes by blood-borne pathogens in the workplace.
After CNA Training: What Are Blood-Pathogens?
Blood-borne pathogens are infectious agents, or microorganisms, that live in an individual’s blood. During CNA training, you will learn these microorganisms are often responsible for diseases and can be spread by bodily fluids and blood. The most common types of blood-borne pathogens are Hepatitis B, HIV, viral hemorrhagic fevers, and Hepatitis C, all of which are very serious diseases that can be devastating to your patients’ immune systems and bodies.
Patients are not the only ones you need to be concerned about when it comes to blood-borne diseases after CNA training, though. You can also be exposed to these microorganisms through a few different ways, including:
- Contact with broken skin, such as scrapes, sores, and open skin areas
- Blood splashes on areas of your body with mucus membranes, such as your skin, eyes, and nose
- Accidental needle sticks
Universal Precautions After CNA Training
When you are working with patients after CNA training, there are certain steps you should always take to ensure both you and the patient are safe from blood-borne diseases. The first step, of course, is obtaining the knowledge through CNA training you need to understand why precautions are necessary. After you have gained this knowledge, consider these precautions:
- Understand through CNA training that you need to protect yourself from blood-borne pathogens when you are working with blood, vaginal secretions, and semen.
- Always use protective barriers to protect your body from contamination. These barriers can include protective eyewear, masks, gowns, and gloves.
- Use gloves for every patient. When you are done with one patient, remove your gloves and wash your hands thoroughly.
If you are exposed to body fluids, you need to take steps to reduce the amount of exposure.
- As soon as you have been exposed to body fluids after CNA training, wash and clean the contaminated area on your body with disinfecting soap. Rinse the area thoroughly with running water.
- Flush out your mucus membranes using clean running water for at least a few minutes.
- See your supervisor, charge nurse, or director of nursing immediately to report the incident. They will ensure you have properly cleaned the area you were contaminated after CNA training and will ask you to complete an incident or injury report. You may also be sent for periodic testing after this incident to determine if the blood-borne pathogens you were contaminated with resulted in a disease.
Blood-borne pathogens are a scary topic, and most individuals who complete CNA training don’t want to even consider the possibility of contracting a disease because of them. However, because you are working in the medical field, you must be realistic and cautious about exposing your body, and other patients, to these harmful microorganisms after CNA training.