Neutropenic means having a low neutrophil count.
Neutrophils, a type of white blood cell will protect the body by attacking bacteria and other invading organisms. When the Neutrophil count is low, the patient has little resistance to infection. Therefore they are put on precautions to protect them from as many sources of bacteria, viruses, protozoans and other sources of illness.
Many cancer patients have this condition due the the chemotherapy they must undergo. But any severely compromised or immune suppressed patient is usually put on this precaution.
As with other precautions, there is usually a notice attached to the door of the patient's room to bring these requirements to the attention of anyone who enters. While the actual precautions are simple, it isn't always easy. But being rushed and careless can cost your patient big time.
This type of precaution can also be called Protective Precaution or Reverse Isolation.
Clean hands when entering and leaving the room or when touching surfaces in the room.
Follow Standard Precautions which includes:
Because nursing is never simple or straightforward, let me throw a wrench into this procedure. While many (do I dare say most?) facilities will have Protective Precautions, the CDC has eliminated it. See the CDC chart here.
They do not see any efficacy in the practice and so, have removed it from their recommendations. Actually, they eliminated it back in 1983!
The good thing is, you as a nurse aren't doing anything other than standard precautions for this debunked procedure. The patient is the one doing something extra, using a mask and paying for the private room.