Background: Adherence to hand hygiene (HH) guidelines reduces the incidence of hospital-acquired infection, however, little research has been conducted on factors that influence healthcare students' HH practices. Methods: A questionnaire was administered to 1721 nursing and medical students from 20 universities in Australia, Sweden, Greece and Italy to determine their HH knowledge, beliefs, practices, education and assessment. Results: The mean score on the HH quiz was 66%. Self-reported HH compliance was 86%. Knowledge scores were significantly influenced by the frequency of HH assessment and the number of methods used to teach HH (p = .04). HH practices were significantly influenced by HH beliefs, knowledge, the frequency of assessment, number of teaching methods used, perceptions of the importance of HH as an infection control measure and the importance given to HH in the curriculum (p < .01). Hand hygiene beliefs were significantly influenced by HH knowledge, and by students' perceptions of the importance given to HH in the curriculum, by supervisors and facilities, and the importance of HH as an infection control measure (p < .01). Conclusions: There was room for improvement in healthcare students' HH knowledge, particularly in relation to the use of alcohol-based hand rubs.
van de Mortel, TF, Apostolopoulou, E, Petrikkos, G, Hedberg, E & Sansoni, J 2012, 'The hand hygeine knowledge, beliefs, practices and education of healthcare students', Canadian Journal of Infection Control, vol. 27, no. 3, pp. 161-167.
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