Attitudes toward practice guidelines among intensive care unit personnel: a cross-sectional anonymous survey

Heart Lung. Jul-Aug 2007;36(4):287-97. doi: 10.1016/j.hrtlng.2006.08.005.


Objectives: The study assessed attitudes of intensive care unit (ICU) staff members toward practice guidelines in general and toward a specific guideline, The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Guideline for Hand Hygiene in Healthcare Settings; correlated these attitudes with staff and hospital characteristics; and examined the impact of staff attitudes toward the Hand Hygiene Guideline on self-reported implementation of the Guideline.

Methods: We performed a cross-sectional survey of staff in 70 ICUs in 39 U.S. hospitals, members of The National Nosocomial Infection Surveillance System. A survey, "Attitudes Regarding Practice Guidelines," was administered anonymously to all willing staff during a site visit at each hospital. A total of 1359 ICU personnel responded: 1003 nurses (74%), 228 physicians (17%), and 128 others (10%).

Results: Significantly more positive attitudes toward practice guidelines were found among staff in pediatric compared with adult ICUs (P < .001). Nurses and other staff when compared with physicians had more positive attitudes toward guidelines in general but not toward the specific Hand Hygiene Guideline. Those with more positive attitudes were significantly more likely to report that they had implemented recommendations of the Guideline (P < .001) and used an alcohol product for hand hygiene (P = .002).

Conclusions: The majority of staff members were familiar with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Hand Hygiene Guideline. Staff attitudes toward practice guidelines varied by type of ICU and by profession, and more positive attitudes were associated with significantly better self-reported guideline implementation. Because differences in staff attitudes might hinder or facilitate their acceptance and adoption of evidence-based practice guidelines, these results may have important implications for the education and/or socialization of ICU staff.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Attitude of Health Personnel*
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Guideline Adherence / statistics & numerical data*
  • Humans
  • Intensive Care Units / standards*
  • Male
  • Practice Guidelines as Topic*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires*
  • United States