Nurses face three times as many hand hygiene opportunities as physicians, study finds

Does how frequently a clinician needs to wash his hands affect hand hygiene compliance rates? A recent study published in the American Journal of Infection Control examined the connection between hand hygiene burden and compliance among nurses and physicians.

The researchers used four trained auditors to measure the daily number of hand hygiene opportunities by shift for nurses and physicians in two wards of an 850-bed university teaching hospital. The auditors collected data for 24 hours over 7 days. All total, they recorded 21,000 hand hygiene opportunities in the medical and surgical wards.

They study revealed nurses had an average burden of 55 hand hygiene opportunities per 24 hours, or 27 hand hygiene opportunities per shift. This is roughly three times higher than the burden experienced by physicians, who had 16 hand hygiene opportunities per 24 hours, or eight hand hygiene opportunities per shift.

Despite facing a higher burden of hand hygiene opportunities, the average nurse compliance rate (76 percent) for the week was approximately 1.5 times higher than compliance rate for physicians (52 percent).

Ultimately, the authors of the study concluded the low hand hygiene compliance rates among physicians cannot be explained by having fewer opportunities to be compliant with hand hygiene protocol.



More articles on hand hygiene:
Good skin health- the hidden factor in hand hygiene compliance
Good hand hygiene key in slowing down antibiotic resistance
Patient safety tool: U-M Health System toolkit to educate seniors about hand hygiene

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