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Throughout history, disease prevalence has posed the biggest challenge in human health. Over years, the need to reduce or eliminate infections led to the development of nursing theories. The nursing theories highlight desired health care routines and practices for disease prevention and control. The theories also explain the phenomenon of disease transmission. This study creates the understanding of germ theory of disease as well as the ethical concerns prevalent in the application of the theory in nursing practice.
Germ theory creates the understanding that specific infinitesimal organisms induce specific diseases. The knowledge in germ theory is responsible for the development of hygiene practices as well as antibiotics. Therefore, adoption of the germ theory in nursing practice enables nurses and other healthcare professionals to eliminate diseases through control of disease causing organisms. One of methods for preventing microbial pathogen cross-transmission and healthcare-associated infections is hand hygiene practice. Hand hygiene practices, for example, hand cleansing, hand antisepsis, and hand rubbing are effective methods for the removal of microorganisms, dirt, and organic materials.
Nurses in all practice settings face ethical issues in professional practice. In this context, nursing leaders have a responsibility of leading nurses in maintaining hygiene for controlling healthcare associated infections. Nurses have a role of following best nursing practices that ensure reduced infections due to the patient-nurse contact. The component of ethics concentrates on the notions of obligation, what is good, right or wrong, moral imperatives and the ethical procedures used in making moral judgments. Understanding of these components aids decision-making processes. Although knowledge of right or wrong is essential to ethical decisions, it is important to weigh some ethical principles depending on the situation. In this context, nurses need to consider all these aspects before making decisions.
Germ theory is responsible for instilling knowledge on the specific organisms that cause diseases. It also creates the need for appropriate medical, as well as hygiene practices in an attempt to prevent infections. Hand hygiene practices, for example, hand antisepsis, and hand washing have been proven effective in the removal of harmful microbes. In the application of nursing theories, the issues of ethics arise. There is a need to understand the moral principles guiding nursing practice for the purpose of decision-making. However, moral ambiguities may arise creating a need to weigh some moral principles before making decisions.