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Handwashing. The hand hygiene practices of nursing students are an important area to examine because nursing students are the future work force and pre-registration training provides the opportunity to address any factors leading to non-compliance with h

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Introduction

Hand hygiene remains the single most important intervention in the prevention of cross-infection in health care settings (ICN 1998). Hospital - acquired infections are a major threat to patients and place a great burden on national health services. According to Lusardi (2007), each occurrence of healthcare associated infection in the United Kingdom costs on average about � 3,000 (Department of Health 2000). Nursing accounts for about 80 per cent of the direct care patients receive and it often involves personal and intimate care activities (Wade 1995). Healthcare associated infections (HCAI) are a potentially avoidable outcome of this care, affecting about one in ten patients, and are described as common and, in some cases, life-threatening (DoH 2003). Some of the infections acquired by patients will be caused by microbes spread on the hands of those providing care, including student nurses. The hand hygiene practices of nursing students are an important area to examine because nursing students are the future work force and pre-registration training provides the opportunity to address any factors leading to non-compliance with hand hygiene practices (Henson & Hayes 1998). Lymer et al. (2004) have suggested that nursing students are in an ideal position to promote effective hand hygiene as they can act as agents of change in practice by sharing good hand hygiene knowledge and practices with qualified staff. ...read more.

Middle

The results appears to confirm that students' own responsibility for hand hygiene was the main influence on their practice. One said: 'It was up to you to do it and take responsibility for yourself.' They qualified this statement however by linking their responsibility with their conscience to prevent the spread of infection to patients, saying: 'I don't particularly want to feel responsible for passing somebody's infection onto somebody else.' This sense of responsibility extended to the need to protect themselves and their families from infections: 'I'm very aware of what I can pick up, and you do not want to take it home to your family' ( Lusardi 2007). Cole (2008)'s results on responsibility are consistent with the findings of (Lusardi 2007) which indicate that students' own responsibility for hand hygiene influence their practice. In his study Cole (2008), one student expressed that, "It's a basic function; part and parcel of who you are. By not washing your hands, of course you are letting the patient down, but you are letting yourself down as well. It might be a clich� but it is important to know that you have done the right things before I go home." ...read more.

Conclusion

Barriers to hand hygiene compliance such as dryness and soreness caused by regular hand wash and the health worker's responsibility also influences hand hygiene compliance. The findings of these studies should inform methods for stimulating hand hygiene compliance in health care setting. It is essential therefore that educators and registered staff encourage nursing students to take responsibility for their practice in this way if they are to ensure that hand hygiene practice is and remains efficient, effective, evidence based and sustainable (Lusardi (2007). Further research into nursing students' past and recent experiences is needed to influence their future hand hygiene practice. It is from this view that I would like to derive my research question for a future research proposal. Research question Do student nurses wash their hands for a sufficient period of time whilst in clinical areas? Methodology In order to answer the above question the writer proposes the use of an interpretive, qualitative design. This design is well-suited to smaller scale qualitative studies that use methods such as semi-structured interviews to explore issues and questions in nursing practice within a qualitative framework (Thorne et al. 2004). Like other qualitative designs, the interpretive design acknowledges the complexity of human behaviour and explores individual behaviours and experiences. The findings are further used to generate explanations for why these experiences and behaviours occur (Thorne et al. 2004). ...read more.

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