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08 Aug 2021 566 Views Sarah

Hand hygiene

Nurses are the foundation to healthcare and professionals that are in maximum contact to health care seekers. Thus, it is mandatory for the nursing professionals to understand the significance of hand hygiene. Performing hand hygiene is a standard universal measure and an effective way to prevent cross-infection in health care settings. The nurses must perform hand hygiene specifically before initiating care for a client, before any aseptic or clean procedure, post-exposure to client’s body fluids and lastly post contact with patient’s inanimate environment (Gould et al., pp. 9).

The nurses must subject to use of alcohol-based hand rubs which paramount nearly 60-90% alcohol. Whereas soap-based hand washing must be done in case where hands are visibly soiled with body fluids, during food preparation and post removal of personal protective equipment. The nurses must resort to use of antimicrobial soap especially before aseptic procedures (Ghaffari et al., 2020, pp. 109). Hand hygiene holds utmost importance in nursing as improper hand hygiene can increase the prevalence of hospital acquired infections with spread of antimicrobial resistance. The nurses performing hand washing frequently has seen to eradicate the transmission of MRSA which is a common pathogen inducing illness in health care settings. Besides this, another disease-causing pathogen Klebsiella, has been seen to have reduce through hand hygiene (Ghaffari et al., 2020, pp. 109).

In order to improve nurse’s compliance to hand washing, they must be made part of educational programs along with free availability of hand-based disinfectants. Even week-based lectures on basic hand-hygiene has been seen to enhance nurse’s practices of hand washing. The senior nurses demonstrating positive role modeling via effective hand hygiene to student nurses can entail future nurses that resort to basic hand hygiene and prevent hospital-acquired infection (RN et al., 2017, pp. 143-152). In addition to this, the adherence can also be ensured by integrating the same in the undergraduate curriculum that primes them to this basic requirement. In order to maintain adequate hand hygiene by nurses, the nurse managers must ensure sufficient availability of hand-hygiene products like hand rubs, lotions and creams and towels. Additionally, the nurses must understand that donning gloves does not replace the requirement for hand washing and that transmission of infection can occur even when removing gloves (RN et al., 2017, pp. 143-152).

The concept of availability of individual based pocket carriable bottles has also been seen to reduce the incidence of cross-infection in health care settings. In order to maintain adequate compliance to hand hygiene, there must be an infection control team with strict surveillance system to monitor the nursing practices (Luangasanatip et al., 2015, pp. 351).

Hand hygiene has direct influence on patient outcomes. In order to improve patient outcomes and generalize wellness among Canadian community, the nurses must resort to basic hand hygiene practices in healthcare settings. Hand hygiene remains the cornerstone of safe nursing practices (Luangasanatip et al., 2015, pp. 351). Being an important ingredient in health promotion and prevention, the nurses not only have practiced this basic skill in health care settings, but also educate the community about the significance of practicing the skill in home-care settings. Nurses can efficiently enhance patient outcomes via safe nursing practices and hand hygiene will always remain the basic step (Luangasanatip et al., 2015, pp. 351).


·      Ghaffari, M., Rakhshanderou, S., Safari-Moradabadi, A., & Barkati, H. (2020). Exploring determinants of hand hygiene among hospital nurses: A qualitative study. BMC Nursing, 19(1). https://doi.org/10.1186/s12912-020-00505-y

·      Gould, D. J., Moralejo, D., Drey, N., Chudleigh, J. H., & Taljaard, M. (2017). Interventions to improve hand hygiene compliance in patient care. The Cochrane database of systematic reviews, 9(9), CD005186. https://doi.org/10.1002/14651858.CD005186.pub4

·      Luangasanatip, N., Hongsuwan, M., Limmathurotsakul, D., Lubell, Y., Lee, A. S., Harbarth, S., ... & Cooper, B. S. (2015). Comparative efficacy of interventions to promote hand hygiene in hospital: systematic review and network meta-analysis. Bmj, 351.

·      RN, O. D., Jones, D., Martello, M., Biron, A., & Lavoie‐Tremblay, M. (2017). A systematic review on the effectiveness of interventions to improve hand hygiene compliance of nurses in the hospital setting. Journal of Nursing Scholarship, 49(2), 143-152.