What do I need to learn in order to progress through my course? How do I achieve the best possible patient-care?

Professional Skills for Nurses answers both of these questions and supports the development of key nursing skills underpinned by theory. Designed specifically to meet the needs of nursing students in the initial stages of training, the book focuses on the essential knowledge and skills needed for effective patient-care while at the same time helping students to achieve the NMC outcomes required for entry into branch programs.

Each chapter focuses on a key aspect of nursing care backed up with practical tips, examples drawn from all branches of nursing, and a range of study activities to help you reflect on your learning and get the most from practice placements.

Key themes in healthcare such as ethics, evidence-based practice and health promotion are discussed throughout the book, highlighting how these relate to everyday nursing practice.

Focusing on the core skills covered in the initial stages of training, Professional Skills in Nursing is the ideal introduction for students during the Common Foundation Program.

Hand Washing and Aseptic Technique

Hand washing and aseptic technique

Learning Outcomes

This chapter is designed to help you:

  • understand the importance of hand washing
  • learn the principles of hand washing
  • understand the importance of aseptic technique
  • learn the principles of aseptic technique.


Patients expect to be protected from acquiring an infection, while nurses have a professional responsibility and duty of care to protect their patient's well being (King 1998, NMC 2008). Hand washing and aseptic technique play an important role in ensuring these ideals are met.

The Importance of Hand Washing

Hand washing is the most important procedure for preventing nosocomial infections. Hands have been shown to be an important route of transmission of infection (DH 2001, Pittet and Boyce 2001). Gould et al. (2007) and Lugg and Ahmed ...

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