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Glove Awareness

Are you glove aware?

The RCN Glove Awareness campaign is changing and more information will be available soon. In the meantime, we encourage all our members to use our materials below to continue to promote appropriate glove use in the workplace and good skin health.

Since 2018, the RCN-led Glove Awareness Week campaign has reached millions with resources and information about sustainable and healthy glove use.

Now, we want to help nursing staff reduce unnecessary glove use year-round.

There’s plenty of ways to reduce unnecessary glove use, and by sharing information and promoting resources throughout 2024 we can help create a healthier, more sustainable health and care system for all.

Why this matters

The climate crisis is driving the breakdown of conditions that make good health possible, but we can play a role to help combat this.

In the UK the NHS alone contributes 4 – 5% of the country’s emissions, and plastic gloves, made using fossil fuels, are one of the most common single-use plastic items in healthcare.

By reducing unnecessary glove use, we can help reduce the impact of health and care systems on the environment.

A common misconception is that gloves should be used to prevent the spread of infection when providing care – in fact Hand-hygiene is a key way to achieve this. As one element of personal protective equipment gloves protect the hands of nursing staff from harm when in contact with hazards such as blood and body fluids or chemicals – they are not generally needed for core nursing activities such as feeding or moving patients, administering medicines, or taking observations for example.

It's easy to forget to perform hand hygiene when wearing gloves so safely. see RCN Tools of the Trade for more information. Reducing unnecessary glove use is not only better for our planet, it’s safer for everyone.

Read more about glove awareness

Read our RCN Magazines article about the role you can take to reduce unnecessary glove use and why this is important.

Watch our video from Deputy President Tracy Budding and learn why Glove Awareness Week is so important

Resources for your workplace

We have designed some simple resources for you to use in your workplace and online to raise awareness of appropriate glove use. These include posters, a leaflet, social media downloads and a Teams background.

Healthy hand hygiene

Good hand hygiene is a vital aspect of nursing, but frequent hand hygiene can lead to and exacerbate dry skin issues including dermatitis.

Our toolkit and guidance on skin health gives you all the information you need to keep both your hands and patients safe.