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Title: Infection control in the neonatal intensive care unit
Author: Chudleigh, Jane
Awarding Body: London South Bank University
Current Institution: London South Bank University
Date of Award: 2001
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The literature review highlighted the continuing problem of hospital acquired infection. This study examined this problem in depth, in a high-risk area, the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. A multi-centre study was conducted using multi-methods in order to capture data regarding nurses' infection control practices in neonatal units. Ninety nurses/ nursery nurses from six neonatal units were included in the study. Non-participant observation was used to investigate nurses' existing infection control practices, interviews were used to explore nurses' opinions of infection control, questionnaires were used to collect demographic data about the sample and assess nurses' knowledge of infection control issues and a Likert-type scale was developed to investigate the unit atmosphere/environment. Microbiological laboratory work was undertaken to compare the efficacies of three products (soap, alcohol hand rub and chlorhexidine) at removing/reducing the numbers of bacteria found on the hands. The effectiveness of gloves at preventing contamination of the hands was also assessed. Finally, the numbers of bacteria recovered from the hands of university administrative staff and nurses were compared to determine whether or not nurses had higher numbers of bacteria on their hands due to the number of organisms they are exposed to and their increased frequency of hand hygiene. Overall, nurses' hand hygiene practices were found to be relatively poor. However, there was some evidence that length of shift, as a proxy indicator of fatigue, and unit atmosphere/environment may influence nurses' infection control practices. Opinions and knowledge were not associated with observed practice. Nursery nurses had lower hand hygiene scores and knowledge scores than nurses and increased experience in the neonatal unit was associated with increased infection control knowledge. The number of bacteria recovered from the hands of nurses was significantly higher than the numbers of bacteria recovered from the hands of administrative staff. In the clinical setting, chlorhexidine was found to be the only product that consistently removed significant numbers of bacteria from the hands. Indeed, the alcohol hand rub was found to increase the numbers of bacteria on the hands. The number of bacteria recovered from the hands did not differ when gloves were worn. This suggests the inside of gloves may be providing a medium for the multiplication of bacteria. However, the number of bacteria recovered from the surface of used gloves was significantly lower than the numbers of bacteria recovered from nurses' hands after nursing activities. The use of gloves for all procedures on the neonatal unit may be advantageous.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available