Teamwork and safety climate affect antimicrobial stewardship for asymptomatic bacteriuria

Infect Control Hosp Epidemiol. 2019 Sep;40(9):963-967. doi: 10.1017/ice.2019.176. Epub 2019 Jul 24.


Objective: In preparation for a multisite antibiotic stewardship intervention, we assessed knowledge and attitudes toward management of asymptomatic bacteriuria (ASB) plus teamwork and safety climate among providers, nurses, and clinical nurse assistants (CNAs).

Design: Prospective surveys during January-June 2018.

Setting: All acute and long-term care units of 4 Veterans' Affairs facilities.

Methods: The survey instrument included 2 previously tested subcomponents: the Kicking CAUTI survey (ASB knowledge and attitudes) and the Safety Attitudes Questionnaire (SAQ).

Results: A total of 534 surveys were completed, with an overall response rate of 65%. Cognitive biases impacting management of ASB were identified. For example, providers presented with a case scenario of an asymptomatic patient with a positive urine culture were more likely to give antibiotics if the organism was resistant to antibiotics. Additionally, more than 80% of both nurses and CNAs indicated that foul smell is an appropriate indication for a urine culture. We found significant interprofessional differences in teamwork and safety climate (defined as attitudes about issues relevant to patient safety), with CNAs having highest scores and resident physicians having the lowest scores on self-reported perceptions of teamwork and safety climates (P < .001). Among providers, higher safety-climate scores were significantly associated with appropriate risk perceptions related to ASB, whereas social norms concerning ASB management were correlated with higher teamwork climate ratings.

Conclusions: Our survey revealed substantial misunderstanding regarding management of ASB among providers, nurses, and CNAs. Educating and empowering these professionals to discourage unnecessary urine culturing and inappropriate antibiotic use will be key components of antibiotic stewardship efforts.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Antimicrobial Stewardship / methods*
  • Asymptomatic Infections
  • Attitude of Health Personnel*
  • Bacteriuria / drug therapy*
  • Hospitals, Veterans
  • Humans
  • Inappropriate Prescribing / prevention & control*
  • Patient Care Team
  • Practice Patterns, Nurses'*
  • Practice Patterns, Physicians'*
  • Prospective Studies
  • Safety Management
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • United States
  • Unnecessary Procedures