Enhancing nurses' knowledge and application of infection prevention practices

  • Holly Slyne

    Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


    The profile of infection prevention has been raised considerably within the last decade, yet compliant practice remains low. In order to enhance understanding the aim of this research was to explore whether nurses’ knowledge and application of these practices were affected by training, education or experience.

    A three study approach was conducted to explore this research phenomenon from multiple aspects to converge on a more comprehensive truth. An evaluation of the effectiveness of ward-based clinical skills training determined that implementation improved nurses’ compliance to infection prevention practices. A questionnaire survey of 414 pre- and post-registration nurses’ knowledge and application of infection prevention practice suggested that nurses with more experience had significantly increased understanding and application of practice, compared to nurses with five years or less experience. In-depth interviews explored experiences of infection prevention education from the perspective of two trainers, five pre-registration and ten post-registration nurses who attended training.

    The triangulated findings of these studies suggest that delivering infection prevention education in a clinical learning environment to small groups of nursing staff at an appropriate time would enable visual, practical and relevant resources to be used and key skills to be practised and demonstrated. Centering the content on specific infections and problem-based scenarios rather than standard precautions, may more effectively enhance nurses’ knowledge through facilitating interaction and engagement and motivate them to transfer the knowledge and skills learnt during education into practice. Findings also suggest that the national Saving Lives audit programme has little impact on improving either infection prevention knowledge or application to practice with regards to key clinical skills.

    By changing the way that infection prevention education is delivered for nurses and the environment within which it is conducted may effectively improve such education by facilitating more effective interaction, engagement, transference of theory into practice and demonstration of competence. Implications of such education could consequently include enhanced infection prevention knowledge and skills, increased application of such knowledge to practice and therefore enhanced patient safety outcomes in terms of a reduced risk of infection.
    Date of Award2012
    Original languageEnglish
    Awarding Institution
    • University of Northampton
    SupervisorJackie Parkes (Supervisor) & Carol A Phillips (Supervisor)

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