A German research has found that only 21 percent of medical students could identify five true and two false indications of when and when not to wash their hands in the clinical setting.
The study is published in the December issue of the American Journal of Infection Control, the official publication of APIC - the Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology.
Three researchers from the Institute for Medical Microbiology and Hospital Epidemiology at Hannover Medical School in Hannover, Germany collected surveys from 85 medical students in their third year of study during a lecture class that all students must pass before bedside training and contact with patients commences. Students were given seven scenarios, of which five ("before contact to a patient," "before preparation of intravenous fluids," "after removal of gloves," "after contact to the patient's bed," and "after contact to vomit") were correct hand hygiene (HH) indications. Only 33 percent of the students correctly identified all five true indications, and only 21 percent correctly identified all true and false indications.
"There is no doubt that we need to improve the overall attitude toward the use of alcohol-based hand rub in hospitals," conclude the authors. "To achieve this goal, the adequate behavior of so-called 'role models' is of particular importance."