Job Burnout Reduces Hand Hygiene Compliance Among Nursing Staff

J Patient Saf. 2019 Dec;15(4):e70-e73. doi: 10.1097/PTS.0000000000000435.


Objectives: Health professional burnout has been associated with suboptimal care and reduced patient safety. However, the extent to which burnout influences hand hygiene compliance among health professionals has yet to be explored. The aim of the study was to examine whether job burnout reduces hand washing compliance among nursing staff.

Methods: A diary study was conducted. Forty registered nurses working in a general city hospital in Thessaloniki, Greece, completed a questionnaire, while they were monitored for hand hygiene compliance following the World Health Organization protocol for hand hygiene assessment. Burnout was measured using validated items from the Maslach Burnout Inventory. Data were collected from September to October 2015.

Results: Multiple regression analysis showed that controlling for years in practice, burnout was negatively associated with hand hygiene compliance (R = 0.322, F(3,36) = 5.704, P < 0.01). Nurses reporting higher levels of burnout were less likely to comply with hand hygiene opportunities (b = - 3.72, 95% confidence interval = -5.94 to -1.51).

Conclusions: This study showed that burnout contributes to suboptimal care by reducing compliance to hand hygiene among nurses. Given the crucial role of hand hygiene compliance for the prevention of in-hospital infections, this study highlights the need for interventions targeting the prevention of burnout among nursing staff.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Burnout, Professional*
  • Cross Infection / prevention & control*
  • Female
  • Greece
  • Guideline Adherence*
  • Hand Disinfection*
  • Hand Hygiene
  • Health Personnel
  • Hospitals, General
  • Humans
  • Job Satisfaction*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Nurses*
  • Nursing Staff, Hospital*
  • Patient Safety
  • Surveys and Questionnaires