No time for losers: producing infection control champions in the healthcare setting.
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Aim Nursing students spend considerable time learning evidence-based infection prevention and control (IPC) strategies at University and are expected to demonstrate a high level of adherence to these during clinical placement, yet in the clinical setting they are exposed to practice which can range from excellent to very poor. Nursing students may thus experience difficulty handling situations where observed practice diverges from what they have been taught. This paper presents a current study that examines how the IPC knowledge that students acquire through their studies, influences their clinical practice and placement experience. Method and findings There appears to be little published literature available in the Australian context as to how nursing students manage the divergence of knowledge and “real world” IPC practices, whilst on clinical placement. This prospective study is a replication, with minor changes, of research conducted by Hinkin and Cutter (2014) in the United Kingdom (UK). Students enrolled in the Bachelor of Nursing (BN) at Griffith University, Gold Coas Campus te invited to participate, consisting of five cohorts throughout the BN. Four of these are in line with the UK study with the addition of an extra cohort in the first year. Nursing students are invited to complete an anonymous questionnaire, as used by and with the permission of Hinkin and Cutter, related to their knowledge and the IPC practice of themselves and others in the clinical setting. These findings will be compared to the UK study. To provide greater insight into the phenomenon being examined and to assist with triangulation of data, Clinical Facilitators are also invited to reflect on their own IPC practice, in addition to students and others that they have observed in various clinical settings. Semi-structured interviews will be conducted with the facilitators to further explore the findings of the student questionnaires. Outcomes The outcomes of this study will be utilised to inform future curriculum development and clinical preparation of nursing students across the Bachelor of Nursing programme. Empowerment and support of students to implement evidence-based IPC in the presence of poor practice and provide safe care is the ultimate goal of this study.
Australasian College for Infection Prevention and Control