Glove-Use Survey Reveals Knowledge Gaps

Appropriate glove use is a cornerstone of effective hand hygiene programs. Nurses knowledge regarding appropriate glove use has only rarely been studied in Belgium, so researchers from Ghent University developed a questionnaire based on the World Health Organization (WHO) glove use pyramid.

The pyramid was used as campaign material for the most recent national hand hygiene campaign in Belgium. The final questionnaire contained 36 glove use indications with four response alternatives: "no gloves indicated," "non-sterile gloves indicated," "sterile gloves indicated," and "I do not know." Demographic data such as sex, age, years of nursing experience and type of ward where respondents worked, were also collected. The questionnaire was completed during class by nurses following a Bachelor-after-Bachelors course in the spring of 2009.

The questionnaire was filled out by 100 nurses; the maximum score was 94 percent, the minimum 22 percent. The median total knowledge score (scoreTOT) was 81 percent (IQR 75-86). Some of the most striking gaps in knowledge were:

- 18 percent do not wear gloves when performing a venal puncture

- 37 percent wear gloves when providing basic hygienic care and 18 percent wear no gloves when performing genital care (as a part of hygienic care)

- 29 percent will manipulate vascular catheters without gloves, 24 percent use sterile gloves

- 58 percent prepare cytostatics with non-sterile gloves

The median scoreTOT for all acute care wards was 81 percent (IQR 78-85), respondents providing chronic or extramural care scored 75 percent (IQR 71-83). This difference was statistically significant (Mann whitney U test P<0.001).

The reearchers concluded that nurses working in acute-care wards scored significantly higher compared to nurses working in other wards when it came to identifying correct glove use.

Reference: D De Wandel, D Vogelaers and S Blot. The WHO glove use pyramid: knowledge gaps among Belgian nurses. Presentation at International Conference on Prevention & Infection Control (ICPIC). BMC Proceedings 2011, 5(Suppl 6):P114.

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