What Type of Disposable Gloves Should Nurses Wear – Nitrile or Latex?

What Type of Disposable Gloves Should Nurses Wear – Nitrile or Latex

Proper hand protection is the first line of defense for nurses that work in risky environments. Because of this, as an RN, seeking out the best gloves for nurses is a smart decision. Additionally, for those who run a medical facility that requires gloves for their entire nursing staff, providing the right type can add a layer of protection and peace of mind to their daily medical routines.

There are various forms of hand coverings out on the market today – latex, nitrile, and others, all with different levels of durability, protection, and comfort. With that in mind, let’s get right to the point and answer the question at hand:

What are the best disposable gloves for nurses? Nitrile disposable gloves are considered the better choice for nurses seeking reliable hand protection. They provide the necessary barrier to keep hazardous fluids from touching the skin, halt the spread of germs, have superior tear resistance, and are 100% latex-free – making them the right choice for nurses in medical environments and care facilities.

Why Nurses Need the Right Type of Disposable Gloves

Nurses can be at risk on a daily basis, which makes it crucial to wear the right type of protection. Quality disposable gloves are essential for their safety, as well as for their patient’s well-being. Below you will find just a few reasons why a nurse should ensure the best hand protection is being used:

  • Nurses often work directly with patients who have a contagious condition; it’s imperative that quality gloves are worn in these cases.

  • RNs handle needles and other sharp medical equipment that can easily puncture low-quality gloves.

  • It’s common for nurses to come into contact with fluids such as blood and other bodily fluids.

  • Many nurses have latex allergies, as well as their patients. Because of this, it’s important to wear 100 percent latex-free materials.

  • Nurses should wear hand protection that retains their sense of touch to perform certain tasks that require it.

  • Gloves are changed out with each new patient, so choosing a product that's easy to put on and remove is essential.

  • Medical staff typically wear hand coverings on a daily basis, all throughout the day. This means that comfort must be taken into account.

  • With all that nurses come into contact with, cleaning their hands is not enough to protect them. Take a look at our post that touches on the subject of gloves vs hand washing for more information.

When considering the right type of gloves, you may be interested in taking a look at our article that details why nitrile gloves are in such high demand.

How to Choose Gloves Appropriate for Nurses in the Healthcare Industry

You can determine what gloves are best for nurses by taking into account the following questions:

  • Are they waterproof/liquid proof?

  • How chemical resistant is the product you’re considering?

  • Do they puncture easily, or are they durable?

  • What material are they made of?

  • Do they contain powder?

  • Are they gloves that are widely used in the nursing industry?

  • Will they allow you to feel objects and handle small items well?

  • Do they hurt your hands while trying to remove them?

How Do Nitrile Gloves Stand Up to the Needs of Nursing Professionals?

Based on all the specifications and requirements of nurses who require hand protection, it’s clear that the best disposable gloves for nurses in the medical field are nitrile-based. This section will cover, in detail, what makes them the right choice for nurses working in hospitals, emergency rooms, urgent care facilities, and the like. Nitrile gloves are the better choice for nurses because of the following qualities:

1. Powder-Free Nitrile Gloves are Best for Medical Environments

Covering your hands with a powdered material, which is the case with most latex gloves, can cause issues within a medical environment. When gloves are taken off, or changed, the powder has been known to become airborne. This could be dangerous if those with a latex allergy were to breathe in the powder particles. Or, if the powder were to land on an open wound. The end result could be airway or wound inflammation, or worse. Powdered material is not advised even when non-latex hand protection is used – it should be avoided altogether. This scenario can be easily avoided by nurses when they choose unpowdered nitrile products to cover their hands. The nitrile goes through a special process that allows it to have the same benefits as if they were powdered, such as easy removal. Additionally, nitrile powder-free hand products are deemed more skin-friendly.

2. Made to Be Chemical Resistant to Keep an RNs Hands Protected

The best gloves for nurses who work with chemicals are nitrile-based. This material is proven to stand up to chemicals much better than latex can. This includes working with such things as disinfectants, antiseptics, cleaning products, even dangerous residues from medications. You can find more information on this in our nitrile vs latex gloves comparison.

3. Waterproof Hand Protection Provides a Barrier Against Any Fluid a Nurse May Come in Contact With

Nitrile gloves are completely waterproof, so for those nurses who provide their patients with baths, it’s a good choice. In addition to this, because no liquid can penetrate them, they are especially fitting for nurses due to the fact that they often come into contact with blood and other bodily fluids.

4. Nitrile Gloves are Latex-Free Providing Nurses and Their Patients with an Allergy-Free Option  

As a nurse, you most likely know the severity of a latex allergy when it comes to yourself, your fellow nurses, and your patients. This is why using latex is not a good choice for anyone in the medical industry. Nursing professionals should instead use nitrile gloves which are 100 percent latex-free. This will ensure there are no allergic reactions, no latex allergy developments, and that your patients are not exposed to latex. You can also read through our article that provides 9 reasons why nitrile is better than latex.

5. Nitrile is a Durable Material that Holds Up to Medical Environments Where Sharp Objects are Utilized 

As mentioned, since nurses can be exposed to fluids such as blood, and the like, it’s important to use a product that is superior in puncture and tear resistance. If you have a small puncture hole in your gloves that you don’t see, and you get exposed to a patient’s blood, it could be extremely dangerous. Nitrile is more durable than latex when it comes to tears and puncture holes. This alone makes this type of disposable glove better for nurses.

6. Healthcare Professionals Require the High Sense of Touch That Nitrile Provides

Nurses should wear hand protection that allows them to still experience a sense of touch, and handle objects easily. Nitrile gloves enable nurses to easily perform medical exams that require touching their patient’s body, feeling for lumps, and the like. Tactile sensitivity is a must in this case. Additionally, small medical tools, needles, and bandages are often used by nurses, and nitrile gloves allow for picking them up and utilizing them with no issues.

7. They Offer Low Friction Resistance Which is Needed in the Medical Industry 

It goes without saying that frequent glove changing is commonly done by any medical professional. They can be changed each time a doctor or nurse switches patients, as well as when they change tasks. Nurses should wear nitrile gloves because they offer low friction resistance, which makes them easy to remove, and simple to put on. In the fast-paced world of nursing, this is essential.  

Nitrile Gloves are the Top Choice for Registered Nurses Looking for the Best Hand Protection

No matter what reason you need hand protection for - reduce transmission of infections, avoid coming into contact with patient blood, attempting to keep hands chemical-free, or they are needed for patient bathing, nitrile gloves are the best suited for all these situations, and more.