Researchers Examine Nurses' Knowledge of Disinfection Practices

Alessandra Sessa, of the Department of Experimental Medicine at Second University of Naples in Italy, and colleagues, assessed the level of knowledge, attitudes and practice regarding disinfection procedures among nurses in Italian hospitals.  Their research was published in BMC Infectious Diseases.

The researchers conducted face-to-face interviews and gathered the following information: demographic and practice characteristics; knowledge about the healthcare-associated infections (HAIs) and the disinfection practices; attitudes towards the utility of guidelines/protocols and perception of the risks of acquiring/transmitting HAIs; compliance with antisepsis/disinfection procedures; and sources of information.

Sessa, et al. report that only 29 percent acknowledged that urinary and respiratory tract infections were the two most common HAIs and this knowledge was significantly higher in those with a higher level of education. Attitudes towards the utility of guidelines/protocols for disinfection procedures showed a mean score of 9.1. The results of the linear regression model indicated a more positive attitude in female nurses, in those with a lower number of years of activity, and in those needing additional information about disinfection procedures. Nurses with higher educational level and with a higher perception of risk of transmitting an infectious disease while working were more likely to perform appropriate antisepsis of the surgical wound and handwashing before and after medication.

The researchers conclude that planning prevention activities about HAIs and providing pointers to help optimize disinfection procedures and infection prophylaxis and management are needed.

Reference: Sessa A, Giuseppe GD , Luciana Albano , Italo F. Angelillo. An investigation of nurses' knowledge, attitudes, and practices regarding disinfection procedures in Italy. BMC Infectious Diseases 2011.