Nurses' clinical uniforms and scrubs may become a vehicle for the transmission and contamination of pathogenic microorganisms. This study aims to identify the relationship between nursing care, in which there is contact between the clinical uniforms or scrubs, and patients up to 3 years old, the way nurses manage their uniforms, and the microorganisms present.
A quantitative, descriptive–correlational, cross-sectional study was conducted with a sample of 24 pediatric nurses, who filled out demographic surveys and from whom microbiological collections of their clinical uniforms were obtained. In this study, clinical uniforms refer to uniforms, specialized clothing, scrubs, laboratory coats, or whatever is worn by the pediatric nurse who is providing hands-on patient care.
Factors contributing to contamination of clinical clothing (e.g., therapeutic procedures, holding, feeding, hygiene care) were analyzed. The methods for reusing and/or sanitizing the uniforms were studied. The nurses' uniforms had the following microorganisms found: Staphylococcus aureus (58.3%), Bacilli group (41.7%), and Streptococcus bacteria (41.7%), with a higher percentage of microorganisms in the abdomen and left thorax regions. A statistically significant relationship was found between contact during nursing care for the infant and the risk of microbiological contamination in the modified kangaroo method (clothed nurse holding infant to chest) and holding for comfort, transport, or restraint.
Proper management of clinical clothing requires special care in its handling by pediatric nurses and the need to standardize practices and adapt behaviors to minimize the risk of contamination. The use of disposable personal protection equipment and the daily changing of uniforms and scrubs are recommended. Institutions should ensure proper management of uniforms.