Hand Hygiene Attitudes Among Medical Students, Residents: 10 Findings

Senior medical students and residents are less confident than junior medical students that hand hygiene prevents carrying home microorganisms, according to a study in Infection Control and Hospital Epidemiology.

A survey of 459 physician trainees and residents centered around three variables of performing hand hygiene: attitude, subjective norm and perceived behavioral control. Medical students were defined as either preclinical, meaning students in their first or second year, or clinical, referring to those in their third and fourth year.

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Here are 10 findings on medical students' and residents' hand hygiene beliefs:

•    Ninety-seven percent of preclinical medical students believe hand hygiene will prevent carrying home microorganisms, whereas only 88 percent of clinical medical students and 87 percent of residents did.

•    Eighty-seven percent of preclinical medical students reported hand hygiene provides a sense of satisfaction about protecting patients, compared with 75 percent of clinical medical students and 78 percent of residents.

•    Eighty-three percent of preclinical medical students believe hand hygiene protects oneself from acquiring antibiotic-resistant microorganisms, compared with 68 percent of clinical medical students and 68 percent of residents.

•    All groups reported their direct supervisor, attending physician, patients and nursing staff place a high level of importance on adherence to hospital hand hygiene protocol.

•    Fewer older medical students and residents than younger medical students reported that colleagues at the same training level placed a high importance on their hand hygiene compliance.  

•    Both junior and senior medical students reported less control over their hand hygiene performance than residents reported.

•    Compared with medical students, residents had more confidence in their hand hygiene knowledge.

•    Seventy-seven percent of residents reported practicing hand hygiene is convenient, while only 58 percent of preclinical residents and 61 percent of clinical residents did.

•    At 86 percent, medical residents were also more likely than preclinical (75 percent) and clinical medical students (78 percent) to report hand hygiene is not a source of frustration.

•    Compared with preclinical medical students, clinical medical students reported less intention to perform hand hygiene when hands were sore or chapped.

More Articles on Hand Hygiene:

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What Season is Best for Healthcare Worker Hand Hygiene?

Study: Better Hand Hygiene Tied to 43% Decrease in Infection Rate

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