The Columbia University School of Nursing conducted a national survey finding that 40 percent of nursing students feel they need more education on preventing and controlling infection. Reported findings also included that more than half of respondents have witnessed breaches in prevention practices during clinical placements, but didn’t feel comfortable addressing them due to feeling unqualified or out of fear of retaliation.

Columbia Nursing Assistant Professor Eileen J. Carter, PhD, lead author of the study, tells “Student nurses overwhelmingly reported that they knew when and how to use various infection prevention precautions, but acknowledged that it was often difficult to perform these practices when busy, which speaks to the complexity of the healthcare environment. Education is important but education alone is not sufficient.”

As part of the study, researchers interviewed a national sample of student nurses about the overall approach to infection prevention and control in their programs. Students were asked to report the amount of time devoted to infection prevention, the quality of instruction, and the settings where they received instruction. The survey also asked students to rate the difficulty of adhering to infection-prevention practices when they were busy and to describe the difficulty in addressing breaches in prevention protocol that they have observed in their clinical rotations.

There was a total of 3,678 respondents, with 91 percent female respondents, 67 percent undergraduate BSN students, and 66 percent age 29 or younger. Most of the respondents felt that their program currently emphasizes infection prevention practices, but 40 percent said additional education is needed. Nurses play a large role in preventing infections, especially in busy healthcare environments. Infection prevention is proven to decrease rates of patient morbidity and mortality, as well as healthcare costs.

To learn more about Columbia Nursing’s study on Infection Prevention Education, visit here.

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