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Nurse trainer uses Swift dance routine to ingrain hand-washing technique


A dynamic dance routine devised by a nurse trainer in Northern Ireland is helping hospital and care home staff remember the key stages of hand-washing.

Ross Mawhinney, lead nurse for clinical education and training at Staff Nursing, a Belfast-based training company and agency, was looking for a way to ingrain the correct hand washing technique in people’s memory.

“I’m surprised and delighted it has had such a positive reaction”

Ross Mawhinney

As a result, he came up with the dance to chart-topping song Shake It Off by US star Taylor Swift.

A short video clip of him performing the routine posted on social media site Facebook on 14 July has proved a hit, reaching more than one million users and garnering nearly 600,000 views.

Mr Mawhinney told Nursing Times he regularly does the dance as part of his standard infection control training sessions for nurses, healthcare assistants, health visitors and care home workers.

“I wanted a way for nurses and healthcare assistant to remember the seven steps of hand-washing without having them on a poster in front of them,” he said.

“It just came into my mind to use Taylor Swift’s song Shake It Off,” he said. “I timed the record and it was the perfect length at about 48 seconds to fit in with 45-second hand washing routine.

“People seem to like the dance and the steps and also quite like the music as well, added Mr Mawhinney.

Staff Nursing

Nurse uses Swift song to teach handwash technique

Ross Mawhinney in action

“The final ‘shake it off, shake it off’ move at the end isn’t an official part of the hand-washing technique but seems to fit,” he said.

He said he had drawn on moves he had perfected on the dance floor over the years to enhance the seven-step hand cleaning method.

These include dramatic arm gestures and a funky chicken-style move executed while moving in time to the track.

In the Facebook film, Mr Mawhinney is shown giving an impromptu demonstration to a group of allied health professionals who join in and reward him with enthusiastic applause.

He told Nursing Times he was “surprised and delighted” the clip had taken off.

“Hand-washing is such an important aspect of infection control and I’m trying to teach as many people as possible the correct technique so it’s great this has reached more than a million,” he said.

“I’m surprised and delighted it has had such a positive reaction,” he added.


Readers' comments (3)

  • I am shocked and surprised that we have to actually teach nurses how to wash their hands ... in matrons days you wouldn't have any doubts!

    Watch a nurse / doctor use the hand gels, they squeeze a little onto the palms of their hands and rub it in, but it is fingers that touch patients, not palms of hands!
    I feel we have the dirtiest doctors and nurses hands in the history of medicine!

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  • Laha78

    Really anonymous?! We're still harping on about the 'good old Matron days?!?!'
    The demands and expectations on our health service today not to mention the poor hygiene of some patients and lack of knowledge of the sheer volume of visitors that are now allowed into hospitals and the introduction of open visiting in many areas means the pressure on Infection Control is greater.
    I disagree with your comment that we have the dirtiest doctors and nurses hands in the history of medicine! In my health board we have dedicated hand hygiene facilitators who audit the five moments of hand hygiene on a daily basis, our IPCT hold monthly hand hygiene sessions and they are also included in all staff inductions of both nurses and doctors when required.
    I think what this nurse has done is fantastic and if it gets the message across and sticks in people's minds then all the better!

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  • Reinvention of the wheel....sing happy birthday twice in your head for the length of time and follow the hand washing technique you will have been taught in your mandatory infection control sessions (plus the visual reminders posted over sinks) and remember the WHO 5 moments of hand hygiene. There is a rap version on u tube done by some US health care staff.

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