Nurses and hospital infection control: Knowledge, attitudes and behaviour of Italian operating theatre staff
This study examined the disinfection and sterilization practices used by hospital operating theatres and evaluated the knowledge, attitude and behaviour of nursing staff with regard to infection control. Of the 216 nurses responding, knowledge concerning such practices was not consistent since 10% did not believe that items should be rinsed in water after contact with glutaraldehyde and more than 25% thought that 10 min contact time provided sterilization. Almost all were aware that improper practices increased the risk of nosocomial infections in patients. Nurses in orthopaedic surgery had a significantly lower level of knowledge compared with others. The great majority of nurses agreed that guidelines for disinfection and sterilization practice should be maintained and applied. With regard to the use of surgical instruments, the majority used steam or dry heat sterilizers for the appropriate time and temperature. Glutaraldehyde was used by 95% to sterilize endoscopes, but at different temperatures and times of exposure. Similar procedures were reported as used for laryngoscopes, though a higher percentage used heat sterilization. Only 38% routinely used all barrier techniques (gloves, masks, and protective eye-wear). Predictors for the routine use of all barrier techniques included attendance at continuing education courses on nosocomial infections, and nurses who were male and those involved in orthopaedic operations. Data support the need for finding and implementing interventions related to the prevention of hospital infection activities, in order to motivate nurses to use the correct procedures as a routine.