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RCN launches members’ skin health survey

18 December 2019

THE RCN is asking members to share their experiences of caring for their hands at work and what support they’ve been offered if they’ve developed a skin issue.

The aim is to build a picture of how poor skin health affects members doing their jobs and what steps are taken to ensure healthy skin and reduce the risk of developing work-related dermatitis.

Every year around 1,000 health care workers develop contact dermatitis of the hands through work. It can be caused by a number of factors including frequent exposure to water, cleaning agents as well as inappropriate glove use. This painful, debilitating condition may require nursing staff to be moved out of clinical areas due to the risk of infection. 

Kim Sunley, RCN national officer for health and safety, said, “Every year far too many health care workers have their hands damaged as a result of doing their jobs. Many are left with permanently damaged hands, others are forced to leave their jobs altogether.

“For the most part this is preventable by following certain procedures as well as having the right support in the workplace.

“We want to hear from members to help us better understand the experiences of their own skin health and what is being done to support them.

“Only then can we really understand what can be done to prevent the damaging impact of work-related dermatitis and what can be done to protect the hands of all those who work in health care.”

The RCN survey, in collaboration with SC Johnson Professional and Kings College London, closes on 12 January.

All responses will be treated in confidence and will be used to inform others about hand care ahead of RCN Glove Awareness Week which starts 27 April.