ARE YOU PREPARING FOR YOUR CLINICAL PLACEMENT?
Updated: 4 days ago
STUDENT CLINICAL PLACEMENT
If you are a student about to embark on your first clinical placement, you will know that amongst may other prerequisites that are required to make you eligible for clinical placement such as an up to date first aid certificate, vaccinations, police and working with children check etc, your N95 face mask fit test is also one of these requirements.
MASKS IN HEALTHCARE
Whilst COVID-19 highlighted the importance of wearing our N95 mask, it seems to have stolen the spotlight with a common misconception that our N95s were only required during the pandemic and are now no longer needed as mask mandates lift. This is not the case.
Hospitals and private healthcare facilities have always worn N95/P2 masks. You will find Hospitals most commonly use their masks in the Emergency Department, ICU, and the Respiratory Ward. Your mask aids in situations where there is a risk of infectious airborne viruses and/or diseases and worn as per standard for transmission-based precautions.
UNDER WHAT CIRCUMSTANCES WOULD I BE REQUIRED TO WEAR AN N95?
There are many infectious diseases that healthcare workers encounter on a regular basis. When treating infectious patients, your mask and other PPE is you last line of defence for when you are required to come into contact with and care for these patients.
Some of the most common are listed below:
Influenzas A or B
ARI (acute respiratory infection).
ARIs are a major burdern on the healtcare system. This is the most common cause of illness at all ages and is a leading cause of death in young children from the age of 5 years and under globally. An ARI consists of upper respiratory tract infections including rhinopharyngitis and sinusitis, and more severe in lower respiratory tract infections (LTRs) such as bronchiolitis and pneumonia.
N95 masks are also worn when conducting aerosol generating procedures (AGPs).
WHY IS FIT TESTING SO IMPORTANT?
Because our masks can only provide its full intended protection when worn correctly in line with manufacturers recommendations and properly fitted to our face, mask fit testing is the only way to properly check that when we have done the above, a seal is achieved and maintained during basic human movement deeming it suitable for work.
The quality of fit (seal to wearers face/absence of leak) is largely dependant on the shape and size of the respirator in relation to he wearers facial characteristics and dimensions as we are all unique.
Ongoing, our masks rely on us, the wearer, to properly wear our masks how we passed our fit test to ensure it continues to provide the same level of protection each time a risk warrants the use of it.
WHY AM I REQUIRED TO BE MASK FIT TESTED?
Having a valid mask fit test ensures Hospitals that in such an event there was another outbreak of an airborne virus/disease, all healthcare workers would be up to date with the mask that is best suited to them, that they have been adequately trained in the correct donning and doffing (in line with infection prevention and control measures) of their mask and how to fit check themselves to ensure their mask is being worn correctly in line with how they would have passed their mask fit test.
Without training on how to properly wear your mask coupled with a mask fit test, there would be no way of knowing if the masks you are being supplied provides adequate protection in situations that warrant the use of your mask.
Fit testing also provides an opportunity to ensure that healthcare workers are properly trained in correct usage of the respirator, which improves protection in routine clinical practice. The Australian AS/NZS1715:2009 Standards recommends annual fit testing. many organisations and healthcare facilities align with better practice when a set enformcing compliance. Having noticed the multiple alternative befefits to fit testing staff, it hs become the new normal for best respiratory protection for anyone whos is or may be required to wear a mask in a clinical setting.
The Australian AS/NZS1715:2009 Standards recommends annual mask fit testing. many organisations and healthcare facilities align with better practice when a set enformcing compliance. Having noticed the multiple alternative befefits to fit testing staff, it hs become the new normal for best respiratory protection for anyone whos is or may be required to wear a mask in a clinical setting.
Fit testing is conducted annually to ensure the same fit can be achieved in the respirator passed and deemed suitable 12 months ago as wearers may gain or lose weight, break a nose or have a broken nose fixed, have facial work done (surgury, fillers etc,) or undergone major dental work.Annual fit tesing is a great opportunity to access the users ability to correctly don and doff their mask and form an adequate seal in order to achive a pass o their own with minimal to no guidance.
If you require a mask fit test you can book here.
Fit Test Australia can assist with all your fit testing needs, you can email our friendly team at firstname.lastname@example.org with offices in Sydney NSW and Melbourne Victoria you can call Michal - 0403 065 064 or Rebekah - 0407 487 422.