Many nursing students say they need additional infection prevention education

A nationally representative survey of nursing students found nearly 40 percent of respondents believed they needed more education on infection prevention.

The survey, published in the journal Nurse Education Today, was conducted by researchers from Columbia University School of Nursing in New York City and involved 3,678 respondents. Researchers identified a significant association between the amount of time respondents spent on infection control education protocols — hand-washing, isolation procedures and hygienically inserting and maintaining catheters — and their self-reported ability to perform these tasks when busy. Students who reported receiving less than an hour of instruction in these areas were more likely to find it difficult perform infection prevention tasks when busy. Nearly 20 percent of respondents reported difficulty in conducting these tasks under pressure.

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Additionally, 51 percent of respondents reported noticing poor infection control practices during rotation, but had difficulty expressing their concerns.

"A culture of safety depends on healthcare workers' ability to express their concern," said Eileen Carter, PhD, an assistant professor at Columbia and the lead author of the study. "It will take collaboration across disciplines and institutions to have discussions about how to best support student nurses, which will ultimately improve the care they provide as students and professional nurses."

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