A recent study suggests that an alarming number of doctors are in dire need of a hygiene refresher.
You might like to believe that your doctor takes the utmost care before administering any sort of medical help, but a recent study reveals that this could not be further from the truth. According to a report from ABC News, a study from the Association for Professionals in Infection Control reveals that a shocking number of doctors are seriously lacking in their personal hygiene procedures, which could have huge implications for patients in their care.
The study reveals that a large number of doctors and nurses fall victim to the Hawthorne Effect, which describes how people change their behavior when they know they’re being watched. Carried out by researchers at the Santa Clara Valley Medical Center in San Jose, California, the research reveals a surprising number of doctors fail to take sufficient care in washing their hands when they aren’t under supervision.
And this poses a huge problem, especially for doctors and nurses working in hospitals. One of the leading causes of the spread of disease in hospitals is the transfer of infectious bacteria from one patient to the next by way of a doctor’s hands. The study shows that even when peoples’ lives and health are at stake, human behavior is surprisingly difficult to change.
The study relied on Infection Prevention (IP) nurses and volunteers to observe doctors and their hand washing protocols when they believed they weren’t being watched.
According to Maricris Niles, an infection prevention specialist at SCVMC, “We noticed a very consistent trend that our Infection Prevention nurses were seeing something different than what volunteers were seeing.”
Lisa Hansford, one of the IP nurses involved in the study reveals that doctors and nurses only appeared to clean their hands with recommended alcohol when she or one of her colleagues’ presence was announced. The volunteers reported that when the doctors believed they weren’t being observed, they failed to take proper steps to ensure their hands were clean.
The study highlights a huge problem in hospitals around the world that could be contributing to the unnecessary spread of infectious diseases. A statement from the Association for Professionals in Infection Control describing the details of the study can be found here.