Perfecting Hand Hygiene and Proper PPE Application

As a healthcare professional, it is crucial to prioritize two essential skills: handwashing and properly donning and doffing Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). These skills play a vital role in infection control, particularly when working with vulnerable populations. Mastering these skills ensures the safety of both yourself and your patients. Read on for some helpful tips from Union Test Prep to aid you in perfecting these skills.


Mastering hand washing is not just a crucial skill for healthcare workers, it is a cornerstone of infection control and plays a vital role in preventing the spread of diseases. In the healthcare setting, where the risk of exposure to pathogens is high, proper hand hygiene is absolutely essential.

Here are some important steps and helpful tips to ensure that you perform the skill of handwashing correctly:

Before You Wash: Remove any accessories such as watches, bracelets, or rings, and if you are wearing long sleeves, roll them up to prevent any interference. It is also important to ensure that your clothing does not touch the sink, maintaining a clean and hygienic environment.

Check Water Temperature: As you turn on the water, take a moment to check the temperature. The water should be comfortably warm, not too hot to cause discomfort or harm. Remember to keep the water running throughout the handwashing process.

Employ an Effective Technique: Wet your hands thoroughly, making sure the water reaches up to your wrists. Apply enough soap and create a good lather by rubbing your hands together for at least 20-30 seconds. If your hands are visibly soiled or have come into contact with bodily fluids, wash for at least one minute. Pay special attention to cleaning under your fingernails, as this area can harbor germs and bacteria. If needed, reapply soap and re-wet your hands to maintain a strong lather.

Maintain Positional Awareness: While washing your hands, keep them lower than your elbows. This helps prevent any remaining microorganisms from traveling up your arms. Be careful not to let your hands touch the counter or the inside of the sink during the process. If this happens, restart the handwashing procedure.

Rinse Thoroughly: Rinse your hands thoroughly under warm running water, ensuring that your hands are lower than your elbows throughout this step.

Drip, Don’t Shake: After rinsing, allow your hands to naturally drip-dry. Avoid shaking your hands, as this can spread droplets containing potentially harmful microorganisms.

Carefully Dry: Use a disposable paper towel to dry your hands. Start from your fingertips and work your way up to your wrists. This method ensures that any potentially dirty areas above the wrist do not transfer back to your fingers. Once your hands are dry, promptly discard the used paper towel.

Turning Off the Faucet: Before concluding the handwashing procedure, use a new, dry paper towel to turn off the water faucet. This prevents recontamination of your clean hands. Remember to discard the paper towel properly.

Donning and Doffing Gowns and Gloves

Mastering the correct technique for donning and doffing Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) is essential for healthcare professionals. Join us as we delve into the step-by-step process and offer invaluable tips to ensure you flawlessly execute this crucial skill.

Wash Up: Prioritizing hand hygiene is essential before engaging in any Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) procedures. Take the necessary steps to ensure your hands are clean, either by thoroughly washing them with soap and water or using hand sanitizer if handwashing facilities are unavailable.

Gear Selection: When selecting your PPE, it is crucial to choose a gown and gloves that fit properly and are free from any damage or defects. The integrity of your PPE is paramount to maximize protection.

Donning: When donning the gown, carefully unfold it, ensuring that the opening is at the back. Slip your arms through the sleeves, making sure to achieve complete coverage. Tie the gown securely at the neck and waist, ensuring that it overlaps at the back to leave no exposed skin vulnerable.

Eye Protection: If eyewear is required, put it on after donning the gown and before wearing gloves. This additional step enhances protection against potential splashes or aerosols.

Apply Gloves: Now it’s time to put on gloves. Slide your hands into the gloves and ensure they comfortably overlap with the cuffs of the gown, leaving no gaps or exposed areas. You are now ready for patient interaction.

Doffing: Before exiting the patient’s room, carefully remove the gown and gloves to prevent contamination.

Glove Removal: When removing the gloves, start by using the gloved hand to peel off the first glove, turning it inside out as you go. Then, insert your clean fingers under the cuff of the second glove and carefully remove it by peeling it off inside out. This technique ensures that any contaminants stay on the inside of the gloves, away from your clean hands. Dispose of the gloves properly.

Gown Disposal: To dispose of the gown, untie or break the gown tie at the neckline and gently remove it, turning it inside out as you go. This technique contains any potential contaminants within the gown. Safely discard the gown.

Remove Eyewear: If you are wearing eyewear or a face shield, remove it carefully, avoiding any contact with the front surface, and place it in the appropriate receptacle for cleaning or disposal.

Final Wash: After removing all PPE, it is important to practice hand hygiene once again. Thoroughly wash your hands with soap and water or use hand sanitizer to eliminate any remaining contaminants and maintain a high level of cleanliness.

As a healthcare professional, it is crucial to prioritize mastering essential skills like handwashing and properly donning and doffing Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to ensure the safety and well-being of both yourself and your patients. By dedicating yourself to honing these fundamental practices, you establish a strong foundation for a successful and fulfilling career as a Certified Nursing Assistant, committed to upholding exceptional standards of care and promoting optimal health in the healthcare setting.