Evidence-Based Change



Handhygiene is widely accepted and recognized as one of the main ways ofpreventing health care associated infections (HCAIs) (Sjoberg, 2010).The practice of hand hygiene is thus considered as one of the mostcritical factors in control of infections (Mathur, 2011). Iteradicates the transfer of disease causing microorganisms from onepatient to the other by health care workers.

Despitethe knowledge that hand washing reduces infection s in health caresetting, the adherence to the practice is unacceptably low, usuallynot surpassing 40 percent of situations in which hand hygiene isexpected. Hand washing or hand hygiene echoes behaviors, attitudesand beliefs (Sax et al., 2007). The various factors identified tohinder hand washing behavior include health care staff related suchas, nursing assistant status rather than a nurse, forgetfulness,physician status rather than a nurse and being male clinical factorslike working in ICU (intensive care unit), understaffing, patientovercrowding, when patients need take priority, hand washinginterferes with the health care worker patient relationship, andworking during the week as opposed to weekend environmental orinstitutional behavioral factors including hand washing agentsleading to irritation or dryness, lack of guidelines to hand washing,belief of low risk for infection from patients, disagreement withguidelines, lack of institutional priority, glove wearing, lack ofadministration efforts to promote the practice, sinks inconvenientlysituated, and skepticism in regard to the value of hand washing(Mathur, 2011).

Thearticle brings new light the importance of hand washing in reducinghealth care associated infections. Although as a nurse am aware ofthe importance of hand washing, the article outlines in depth thehistory of hand washing, its importance and the barriers to handwashing practice among health care workers. Ultimately the methods toimprove hand washing behavior have been outlined which will be usefulto me as a nurse in engaging hand practice and encouraging mycolleagues to do the same.


Mathur,P. (2011). Hand hygiene: back to the basics of infection control. TheIndian journal of medical research,134(5),611.

SaxH, Uckay I, Richet H, Aegranzi B, Pittet D. Determinants of goodadherence to Hand Hygiene among healthcare workers who have extensiveexposure to Hand Hygiene campaigns. Infect Control Hosp Epidemiol.200728:1267–74.

SjobergS, Eriksson M. Hand disinfectant practice: the impact of an educationintervention. Open Nurs J. 20104:20–4.