Empower nurses to improve hand hygiene

Efforts to improve hand hygiene at health organizations must include nurses, according to an article at Becker's Hospital Review.

Hospitals have long understood the importance of hand-hygiene protocols, but continue to struggle to enforce them. At Jacksonville's Mayo Clinic Florida, however, compliance is as high as 100 percent, according to Chief Nursing Officer Deb Harrison, R.N.

The secret, Harrison told Becker's, is incorporating nursing staff into the hand-hygiene process. Empowering and engaging patients is already part of nurses' jobs, making them a natural choice to help patients improve hand hygiene, she said..

For example, Mayo nurses have patients audit their providers' hand hygiene in the form of questionnaires, which serve as the basis for quarterly reports. Nurses teach the patients what to look for and how to speak up if necessary.

The hospital has also implemented a program to help nurses feel more confident talking to their superiors about noncompliance, according to the article. The program recommends nurses use the phrase "I need a little clarity" to signal to colleagues or higher-ups that they've missed a vital step in the infection-prevention process without appearing combative in front of patients, Harrison told the publication.

Indeed, research indications on-the-spot interventions significantly improve hand-hygiene compliance, even among workers who are already aware of hand-washing protocols, FierceHealthcare previously reported.  

To learn more:
- here's the article