Qualified staff often set a poor example to nursing students on infection prevention and control practices, claim the authors of a study.
They found 100% of the student nurses they surveyed had observed lapses in infection prevention and control practices during their clinical placements.
The researchers, from Cardiff University and London’s City University, conducted an anonymous online survey of nursing students who were members of the Royal College of Nursing.
All of the 488 students who completed the 19-question survey reported witnessing at least one instance of non-compliance with infection prevention and control procedures. The most frequently observed events related to hand hygiene.
More than 75% of respondents saw healthcare workers fail to clean hands between patients, and 60% saw healthcare workers wearing nail polish or nail extensions.
Other lapses observed by more than half of survey respondents included failure to comply with isolation precautions, inadequate cleaning of the patient environment, not changing personal protective clothing between patients, and poor handling of sharp instruments.
The students commented most often about the poor hygiene and safety habits of doctors, but all occupational groups were criticised for touching their face, biting nails, and scratching during patient care.
The authors said: “Qualified staff provided poor role models for student nurses. The findings of this study indicate the need for better role models for student nurses.”
The study was published in the latest issue of the American Journal of Infection Control.
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