Background: There were 3 objectives for this prospective quasiexperimental study. The first was to determine the effect of mentor's hand hygiene practices on student's hand hygiene rates during clinical rotations. The second was to assess the difference in hand hygiene rates for students with and without prior medical experience. The third was to assess the student's opinion and beliefs regarding hand hygiene.
Methods: Sixty students enrolled in a certified nursing program were selected to participate in the study. Each study group was observed twice during the 30-day span. The first observational period was conducted on day 1 of clinical rotation. The second observational period was conducted on day 30 of clinical rotation. Students were observed for hand hygiene. Also assessed were medical experience, sex, gloving, age, and mentor's hand hygiene practices. After observational period 2, a brief questionnaire was given to students to determine their opinion and beliefs regarding hand hygiene. The questionnaire was divided into 5 sections: student's commitment to hand hygiene, their perception of hand hygiene inconvenience, the necessity of hand hygiene, the student's ability to perform hand hygiene, and their opinion on the frequency of medical staff's hand hygiene.
Results: The mentor's practice of hand hygiene was the strongest predictor of the student's rate of hand hygiene for both observational periods (P < .01). Furthermore, students without prior medical experience had a significant increase in hand hygiene rates when comparing observational period 1 to observational period 2 (P < .01). Glove usage was associated with increased hand hygiene rates by 50% during observational period 1 (P = .01) and 44% during observational period 2 (P < .01). Male students during observational period 1 practiced hand hygiene 30% less often than female students (P < .01); however, during observational period 2, there was no significant difference between hand hygiene rates for males and females (P = .82). Questionnaires were completed by 47 students, who reported a strong commitment to hand hygiene, belief in its necessity, and ability to perform hand hygiene (with scores in the high 90s on a 10 to 100 rating scale).
Conclusion: Mentor's use of hand hygiene and glove usage was associated with increased hand hygiene among students. Even though students reported strongly positive attitudes toward hand hygiene, students had a low overall rate of hand hygiene.