Yeah I guess we all have these moments, when we don't think through the implications or the consequences of our actions. But that I should have two such moments in one day makes me a little red-faced.
Today I walked into a room with contact precautions without gown or gloves. The patient was the one to point it out to me. Somehow I hadn't noted the sign on the door, and I helped open all her breakfast items before I was informed of my omission. It is all the worse because I had worked with the patient before, and used the gown and gloves, donning and doffing each time I entered or exited the room.
If that was all, maybe I could shrug it off like a badly fitting coat. But no, in helping another student with her respiratory and abdominal assessments, I committed the ultimate crime. Her patient also had contact precautions and I carried in some papers and a book to help with the assessment, and then, I PLACED THEM ON A BEDSIDE TABLE! Also my fellow student had papers she was writing on on that table. Somehow we hadn't thought of contaminated papers and books that couldn't be properly cleaned afterwards.
A nurse informed us of our error and our teacher was also notified of it, and later asked us to talk about it at post-conference. We both felt a little foolish, because it hadn't occurred to us until we were cleaning our stethoscopes that our papers couldn't be similarly disinfected.
Chalk it up to a misfiring of critical thinking skills, and a lesson learned the hard way. This red-faced nursing student will be thinking through each action and its implications from now on, especially with contact precautions!