Aims and objectives
To examine the hand hygiene beliefs and practices of Turkish nursing students and the effectiveness of their handwashing.
Handwashing is the most important part of preventing cross‐infection, but there is a considerable amount of evidence that shows that the handwashing technique of nurses and nursing students is not always very effective.
This research was carried out in two stages and is type of descriptive, analytical and observational. The study comprised 563 students from a Faculty of Nursing. Besides evaluating the nursing students' sociodemographic data, we assessed their beliefs and hand hygiene practices using a Hand Hygiene Beliefs Scale (HHBS) and Hand Hygiene Practices Inventory (HHPI) and also used with “Derma LiteCheck” device to assess how effectively they washed their hands. The STROBE checklist was used.
The handwashing frequency of the female students was significantly higher. The scores on both the HHBS and the HHPI were significantly higher among the female students compared to the males. The dirtiest areas of the hand were determined as nails (nail beds, beneath the nails), skin between the fingers and fingertips.
The results of our study indicate that although student nurses have positive perceptions about hand hygiene and appear to have developed good habits, the effectiveness of their handwashing is poor.
Relevance to clinical practice
It is of great importance that UV light and florescent gel are made readily available both at nursing schools and in hospitals and other health institutions since these elements are useful in providing immediate visual feedback for a full assessment of handwashing behaviour.