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Murphy’s Law of protective equipment

Thinkstock | Jochen Sand
Thinkstock | Jochen Sand

As a nurse, personal protective equipment (PPE) is probably the most-used piece of equipment in your arsenal (next to your stethoscope). I mean, seriously: How many times per shift do you put on or take off a pair of gloves? Add into the mix taking care of a patient in contact/droplet precautions and you probably spend almost a quarter of your shift just gowning up. Just imagine if you have more than one patient in some type of precautions. Yep, we’ve all been there.

I know I’m not the only one who notices the handful of ironic situations that are guaranteed to happen almost immediately after you’ve completely gowned up. It’s sort of like saying the “Q” word on the unit–there are just certain inevitable events that are bound to happen after you have on your mask, gloves and gown. Here are just a few:

  • Your nose itches uncontrollably
    • Unless you have a mask on, you SURELY can’t scratch your nose with gloved hands.
  • There’s a phone call for you
    • Yeah, that provider or colleague you’ve been paging all morning is finally calling back.
  • You need to write something down
    • And you realize the only writing instrument you have is buried underneath your PPE gear.
  • Equipment?
    • You just realized there isn’t a designated stethoscope in the room. Or you need another IV pump. Better yet, you just realized there aren’t adequate wound care supplies.
  • The IV machine is beeping
    • And you need a new bag of fluid.

It’s the little things that drive you up the wall, huh? (Insert sarcastic snicker.) I don’t know about you, but I still run into “Murphy” and his gosh-darn law no matter how well I prepare before gowning up and entering my patient’s room.

What else would you add to the list?

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2 Responses to Murphy’s Law of protective equipment

  1. Chuck Allison

    And…as male nurses all know, there is always a shortage if the larger glove sizes.

  2. Gia Daniel

    Yeah. About that designated stethoscope thing:
    I’m supposed to take MY personal stethoscope into a room with a (from the sepsis POV only) dirty patient? Why is it that you can never find a disposable one in the gowning area?