68% of nurses agree flu vaccine is safe, survey finds

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Researchers conducted a recent survey gauging nurses' knowledge and beliefs about infection control practices, according to a study published Dec. 13, in the American Journal of Infection Control.

Five things to know:

1. The survey was funded by the Healthcare Research and Quality Agency. For the study, researchers sent out a survey to 359 nurses who work in home healthcare.

2. Researchers found about 68.5 percent of nurses agreed influenza vaccines are safe.

3. About 60 percent of nurses said their employer made it easy for them to stay home if they were sick. Researchers said prior results indicated home healthcare agencies may benefit from increasing staff education on influenza shots and staff policy.

4. Nurses answering the survey exhibited comprehensive knowledge on how to prevent transmission of infection and protocols for handling fluids, but they  knew less about nursing bag and hand hygiene practices.

5. All of the nurses indicated compliance with wearing gloves when coming in contact with body fluids or blood products, but only 69.6 percent indicated they wore goggles or some form of eye shields during these instances.

"Nurses play a critical role in infection control in home healthcare settings," said David Russell, PhD, Center for Home Care Policy & Research, Visiting Nurse Service of New York, NY. "Moving beyond a singular focus of knowledge by sharing messages that challenge perceptions on topics — from the influenza vaccine to proper handling of nursing bags —may go a long way toward enhancing compliance with effective infection control strategies."

More articles on clinical leadership and infection control:

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VA picks 10 patient safety centers for funding
McDonald's fights superbugs by curbing antibiotic use in beef

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