David Holyoake, PhD, MSc, a senior lecturer at the University of Wolverhampton in the United Kingdom, reports in Nursing Times on how a group of nursing students identified that a new system of "supporting, shaming and blaming" would encourage healthcare professionals to wash their hands.
Holyoake explains that during a workshop designed to improve healthcare processes, the students changed their thinking from perceiving handwashing as merely an act of hygiene, to seeing it as a social behavior that is part of a larger organizational system.
Holyoake says that during an experiment, the nursing students challenged traditional health promotion messages -- traditionally focusing on how the individual can make a difference and explored how healthcare institutions unintentionally allow cross-contamination and infections to persist. He says that a series of compelling posters were created from the experiment and that individuals began to rethink their approaches to hand hygiene.
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Reference: Holyoake D (2010) Rethinking traditional handwashing learning. Nursing Times. 106:35, early online publication Sept. 4, 2010.