Microbiology is a very important topic for nurses to study. This is because our infectious diseases are caused by microbes. This was discovered in the late nineteenth century and is defined in the “Germ Theory of Disease”. In a few cases, even cancer is associated with particular infectious microbes and viruses (liver carcinoma, stomach cancer and Burkitts Lymphoma).
Learning about microbiology will help a nurse prevent transfer of germs from one patient to another, prevent germ transfer to oneself and even prevent germ transfer from inanimate objects. The nurse will learn to appreciate the differences between pathogenic microbes and non-pathogenic microbes that play important roles in the environment. The nursing student will even learn how the immune system can resist less pathogenic microbes but require prior exposure.
The study of Microbiology will take you into that world; you’ll learn how bacteria and human cells are different, and connect that concept with how pharmacology can effect bacteria without doing harm to the patients cells.
you’ll learn to identify different pathogens by how they grow in certain environments; that will help you pinpoint when a patient comes into the ER with complaints, and you suspect a certain bacteria is the cause of their complaint.
For instance; E. col (Escherichia coli) is a bacteria which is normally found in our intestines, and helps with the absorption of Vitamin K and other nutrients, and in turn, we humans provide a nutrient rich environment for it to thrive in. Now, say a patient has surgery, and somehow that E. coli was transplanted somewhere else in the body; it would then be toxic to the body because it doesn’t belong in that area. So, the patient will have symptoms. You would expect the doctor to order a broad spectrum (works on many types of bacteria) antibiotic, while simultaneously running tests to pinpoint WHAT specific bacteria is causing problems, so the doctor can order a specific antibiotic that is tailored to destroy that bacteria.
Microbiology is an essential part of nursing studies. You’ll learn the differences between bacteria and viruses, and why medications won’t work on a virus; how they’re spread, etc.