Hamadah R, Kharraz R, Alshanqity A, AlFawaz D, Eshaq AM, and Abu-Zaid A
Cureus [Cureus] 2015 Aug 24; Vol. 7 (8), pp. e310. Date of Electronic Publication: 2015 Aug 24.
Introduction: Little is known about the clerkship (clinical) medical students' knowledge of hand hygiene as the single most important precautionary measure to reduce nosocomial healthcare-associated infections. The aim of this study is to explore the knowledge of, and attitudes towards, hand hygiene practices among fourth-year clerkship medical students at Alfaisal University, College of Medicine, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. Materials and Methods: A cross-sectional, paper-based, Yes/No formatted questionnaire was administered to explore the students' knowledge of, and attitudes towards, hand hygiene practices. Data were decoded in Microsoft Excel sheet and presented as numbers and percentages. Results: One hundred and eleven students (n=111/147) participated in the questionnaire (response rate: 76%). Although the majority of students had a fair knowledge of hand hygiene practices, a number of them had some misconceptions. Only 14% of students correctly agreed to the statement: "Traditional hand washing (water, plus regular soap) decreases the number of germs." Furthermore, only 32% of students correctly answered that "hand washing with a regular soap, instead of an antiseptic soap, is better in limiting the transmission of clostridium difficile infections". Almost all students (93%) agreed to the importance of hand hygiene education in medical curricula and its awareness in healthcare centers. Despite the importance of hand hygiene, only 13% of students reviewed the respective WHO and CDC guidelines before starting their clinical training in the teaching hospital. Discussion: The students' inadequate knowledge about hand hygiene needs to be enriched by well-structured curricular and extra-curricular programs as well as more positive attitudes by healthcare workers.