Factors influencing hand hygiene practice of nursing students: a descriptive, mixed-methods study Academic Article uri icon


  • Developing nursing students' knowledge and practice of infection prevention and control (IPC) is fundamental to safe healthcare. A two-phase descriptive, mixed-method study conducted within a Bachelor of Nursing program at an Australian university aimed to explore: (i) theoretical knowledge of IPC, highlighting hand hygiene, of nursing students and; (ii) nursing students' and clinical facilitators' perceptions of factors influencing these practices during clinical placement. Phase One utilised an anonymous validated questionnaire assessing students' knowledge; identifying variables influencing students' IPC practices, subjected to descriptive and inferential analysis. Phase Two were semi-structured interviews exploring clinical facilitators' experiences/perceptions of students during clinical placement, analysed thematically. Students' demonstrated satisfactory knowledge of IPC in their second and third year, but clinical facilitators perceived that. students lacked awareness of the importance of these practices. Five themes arose from the interviews: (i) understanding workplace culture; (ii) students' modelling local behaviour; (iii) enhancing and consolidating knowledge for practice; (iv) adjusting to practice reality and; (v) accessing additional hand hygiene resources. Factors specific to workplace setting and culture were perceived to influence nursing students' socialisation. Future practice/education strategies could address these factors by ensuring students receive adequate supervision during clinical placement, and having strong advocates/role models present in the workplace.

publication date

  • March 1, 2020