Nurse attitudes vs. knowledge: Which is linked to greater infection control compliance?

A study, published in the American Journal of Infection Control, examines attitudes among community nurses and whether their attitudes affect compliance with infection control practices.

Researchers conducted a survey of 359 community nurses, which honed in on their knowledge, attitudes and reported compliance with infection control practice guidelines.

The study shows nurses' attitudes, and not their knowledge base, correlated with compliance to infection control guidelines. Older nurses as well as non-Hispanic black nurses were more likely to report self-compliance.

Additionally, around 81.9 percent said they wear a disposable face mask whenever there is a possibility of a splash or splatter, and 79 percent said they wear a gown if soiling with blood or bodily fluids is likely.

However, almost all the respondents failed to identify that hand hygiene should be performed after touching the nursing bag.

"Our key message is that infection control is not necessarily about knowledge — as most of the nurses surveyed had been working for some time," said Professor Dawn Dowding, of the University of Manchester in the United Kingdom, and a member of the research team. "So more training, for example, might not necessarily change behavior; we felt from this research that inculcating good practice into the organizational culture is likely to be more effective."

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