Use of personal protective equipment in nursing practice

Open Access Use of personal protective equipment in nursing practice

Louise Brown Clinical nurse specialist in infection prevention and control, Burwood Hospital, Christchurch, New Zealand
Julianne Munro Clinical nurse specialist in infection prevention and control, Christchurch Women’s Hospital, Christchurch, New Zealand
Suzy Rogers Clinical nurse specialist in infection prevention and control, Christchurch Hospital, Christchurch, New Zealand

Why you should read this article:
  • To enhance your knowledge of the items of personal protective equipment (PPE) available, when these items should be used, and the procedure for putting on and removing these items

  • To optimise your use of PPE, thus reducing the risk of infection and preserving patient safety

  • To count towards revalidation as part of your 35 hours of CPD, or you may wish to write a reflective account (UK readers)

  • To contribute towards your professional development and local registration renewal requirements (non-UK readers)

A comprehensive understanding of infection prevention and control is essential for nurses when seeking to protect themselves, patients, colleagues and the general public from the transmission of infection. Personal protective equipment (PPE) – such as gloves, aprons and/or gowns, and eye protection – is an important aspect of infection prevention and control for all healthcare staff, including nurses. Its use requires effective assessment, an understanding of the suitability of various types of PPE in various clinical scenarios, and appropriate application. Understanding the role of PPE will enable nurses to use it appropriately and reduce unnecessary cost, while ensuring that the nurse-patient relationship remains central to care. This article defines PPE and its components, outlines when it should be used and details its optimal application.

Nursing Standard. doi: 10.7748/ns.2019.e11260

Peer review

This article has been subject to external double-blind peer review and checked for plagiarism using automated software


Conflict of interest

None declared

Brown L, Munro J, Rogers S (2019) Use of personal protective equipment in nursing practice. Nursing Standard. doi: 10.7748/ns.2019.e11260

Open access

This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-Non Commercial 4.0 International (CC BY-NC 4.0) licence see (, which permits others to copy and redistribute in any medium or format, remix, transform and build on this work non-commercially, provided appropriate credit is given and any changes made indicated.

Published online: 01 April 2019

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