A study of clinicians' views on medical gloves and their effect on manual performance

Am J Infect Control. 2014 Jan;42(1):48-54. doi: 10.1016/j.ajic.2013.07.009. Epub 2013 Nov 20.


Background: The effect of gloves on practitioners' performance has not been a major factor in their design. To determine the critical elements of performance and design appropriate tests, data from clinicians were needed.

Methods: Semistructured interviews were carried out with medical practitioners from various disciplines, in which they were asked about their glove use, their views on gloves, medical tasks requiring the highest manual performance or most affected by gloves, and what the main issues with glove use were.

Results: Many participants expressed a preference for latex over nitrile, with glove fit being the main reason given. Satisfaction with surgical gloves (generally latex) was high but less so with examination gloves, which were generally nitrile. Tactile sensation, comfort, and donning were also seen as major issues with glove use. A number of tasks were identified for possible development as tests.

Conclusion: Performance in medical practice needs to be clearly defined, separating perceived and measured performance, and understanding the effect of glove material, fit, and thickness. Development of new glove performance tests based on the tasks identified is an important part of this.

Keywords: Fit; Latex; Nitrile.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Gloves, Protective*
  • Humans
  • Infection Control / methods*
  • Interviews as Topic
  • Latex
  • Nitriles
  • Patient Acceptance of Health Care*
  • Physicians*


  • Latex
  • Nitriles