Healthcare Technology Featured Article

June 03, 2021

Why Nurses Study Microbiology?

Human beings are the most influential species on the planet. However, the smallest-sized living thing can also influence the fate of the world. For example, a tiny virus can cause the end of human life. Microbiology is the branch of science that studies microorganisms such as bacteria and viruses. Not all organisms are dangerous. Some are necessary for survival, such as gut microbes that promote immunity: only a few cause diseases. For nurses, learning about microbiology is helpful in the diagnostics, treatment and prevention of diseases.

Classification of organisms

Being able to see a microscopic organism will help you to understand its classification. There are different types of microbes, for example:

·         Bacteria

·         Viruses

·         Parasites

·         Fungi

The Importance of Microbiology in Nursing

Microbiology plays a vital role in health care. For nurses having adequate knowledge of different microbes helps in:

1.  Understanding how an infection spreads

There are many stages in infection transmission. Whether it is through the air, contaminated food or water, and direct or indirect contact with another person, for example, sexually or through the saliva, nurses should understand the mode of transmission to better advise patients on steps they should follow to get better or prevent the risk of infection: This is only possible if the nurse understands what the bacterial or viral infection is and how it spreads. Furthermore, in a hospital setting where multiple patients are, it is essential to put up safety precautions that prevent contamination or the spread of disease.

2.  Maintaining sterility

For nurses to achieve a sterile environment, they will have to eliminate all viable microorganisms: This is not possible without a microbiology background. You will need to understand the correct components and amounts of chemical ingredients necessary to kill replicating microorganisms. When the ratio of the organisms present is less than one in a million, then you have achieved sterility. Furthermore, microbiology helps nurses curb contamination which is part of maintaining a sterile environment. Sterility is a vital part of nursing, for example, in operation theaters where catastrophes like death can occur if instruments are not clean enough.

3.  Specimen collection

There are universal specimen collection guidelines that can only make sense to a nurse who has studied microbiology. For example, a medical practitioner should know the best sample collection technique that minimizes the risk of contamination. Furthermore, the labeling of specimens is not common knowledge but something you learn in microbiology. Storing specimens like blood should also be handled according to the provided guidelines. Understanding specimen and the different classifications of microorganisms requires extra knowledge like:

How Nurses Observe Microorganisms?

Microorganisms are tiny. Therefore, it takes special tools to see, learn about, and classify them. Due to the advancement of magnifying instruments, it is easier for scientists to see and understand the nature of this microscopic species. These tools include:

·         The compound light microscope

This instrument is the primary observation tool.  Scientists use a series of lenses to see the microorganisms. Typically, magnification is as high as 1000 to 2000X. First, you will need to place a specimen on a glass slide before viewing the organisms. This bright field microscope involves viewing the sample from above through binocular eyepieces as light comes from below.

·         The transmission electron microscope

This tool leverages a high voltage electron beam directed through a lens to generate an image. Because the electrons have a smaller wavelength, the image is of a much higher resolution than a light microscope.

·         The scanning electron microscope.

This instrument provides more details about a sample than a transmission electron microscope. A beam of electrons scans the surface of a sample and includes information like topography and composition.

4.  Immunization

All nurses should be aware of the different infectious diseases out there that come from harmful microorganisms like bacteria and viruses. This knowledge will help them understand why immunizations are necessary and how to deliver them. For example, vaccines are given to children to promote immunity. A nurse with the proper education in microbiology can better direct a mother in the vaccination steps she should take to protect her infant from diseases.

The study of microorganisms is one of the most critical areas that can help you become a better nurse. To learn more about the different branches in microbiology, visit Lecturio for registered nurses training.

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