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Student nurses' experiences of infection prevention and control during clinical placements

      Background

      Little is known about nursing students' experiences of infection control in the clinical setting despite its importance protecting patients and reducing risks of occupational exposure.

      Methods

      We conducted an online survey involving a fixed choice Likert-type scale with 19 items and an open question to solicit more detailed information with a national sample of student nurses in the United Kingdom.

      Results

      Four hundred eighty-eight student nurses completed questionnaires. All participants reported lack of compliance for every item on the Likert scale, most frequently from community settings and long-term care facilities for older people. Incidents most commonly witnessed were failure to comply with hand hygiene protocols, failure to comply with isolation precautions, poor standards of cleaning in the patient environment, not changing personal protective clothing between patients, and poor management of sharp instruments. Qualified nurses did not provide good role models. Medical staff were the occupational group most heavily criticized for poor compliance.

      Conclusion

      Students demonstrated sound understanding of infection control and were able to identify lack of compliance on the basis of preclinical classroom instruction. The study findings indicate that ensuring safe infection control practice remains a challenge in the United Kingdom despite its high priority.

      Key Words

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