How this Chicago hospital's nurses make hand hygiene fun

Chicago-based Shriners Hospitals for Children has several fun and effective ways to help staff to keep their hands clean, the Daily Nurse reports.

Kim Romberg, MSN, RN, infection preventionist at Shriners, discussed the hospital's hand hygiene initiative with the Daily Nurse.

During Infection Prevention Week, Ms. Romberg led a visual presentation for staff where she randomly asked four staff members for their cellphones and swabbed them.

She had the in-house hospital lab plate the swabs to detect bacteria. Two of the cellphones belonged to office staff in nonpatient care areas and two belonged to nurses. Ms. Romberg took photos of the results two days later and shared them with the entire hospital staff.

"The plates with the office staff had a lot of [bacteria] growth, whereas the nurses' cellphones did not, making the point that our nurses clean their hands frequently and helped keep their personal devices clean," Ms. Romberg said.

To ensure nurses consistently have clean hands, Shriners has a program called "high five" for hand hygiene, Ms. Romberg explained. If a staff member was seen not to have washed his hands when he should have, another staff member will give him a cue and say, "high five," to discreetly remind him to clean his hands.

The hospital also uses secret observers who document hand hygiene compliance. Staff found to be noncompliant receive a feedback letter and are asked to review the steps of hand hygiene and then sign and return the form. Their confidentiality is maintained.

To encourage patients to keep their hands clean, during Infection Prevention Week, Ms. Romberg deputized patients with badges and asked them to be the "hand hygiene police."

"I gave them hand clappers, and on one side I wrote 'please wash' and on the other side 'thank you for cleaning your hands,'" she said. "I asked patients to clap the clappers and let staff know they were being thanked for cleaning their hands or remind them to clean their hands."

More articles on clinical leadership and infection control:
Hand hygiene in 2018: 10 findings
Nursing named most trusted profession for 17th consecutive year
'Alarming' levels of drug-resistant bacteria found in ICU patients, study says

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