Perceptions, Attitudes, and Compliance of Health Care Undergraduate and Graduate Students Regarding Infection Control Practices

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Introduction : Infection control is a very important part of healthcare in any facility. This has been the focus of attention of researchers and many international institutions. Understanding infection control basis and its guidelines is fundamental for all healthcare workers. This has therefore been added to university curricula. Continuous enforcement mechanisms have been established in order to assure optimal application to avoid infection transmission. This thesis presents a study on perceptions, attitudes, compliance and obstacles faced by undergraduate and graduate students in Byrdine F. Lewis School of Nursing and Health Professions, Georgia State University, Atlanta, Georgia. Methods: A questionnaire was sent to undergraduate and graduate students in the fields of nursing, nutrition, occupational therapy, physiotherapy, and respiratory therapy exploring perceptions, attitudes, compliance and obstacles faced in connection to infection control guidelines and used tools, hand hygiene (HH) and personal protective equipment (PPE). Data was analyzed using the statistical program of Statistical Package for the Social Sciences (SPSS). Chi-square and ANOVA were used to analyze variance and associations. Results: There was a total of 102 responders to the survey. However, 34 were excluded as they failed to answer all components. The total sample size of this analysis was therefore 68 responders. The majority were female nurses. Perceptions of responders for HH and PPE were rated at 50-79.4% and 91.2-92.7% respectively. Their attitudes for HH and PPE were rated at 92.7-100% and 92.7-98.5% respectively. Compliance was rated at 89.7-98.5% for HH and 13.2-91.2% for PPE. Age was associated with PPE; such that younger responders had better attitudes towards using PPE. There was also a significant association between the healthcare specialty and perceptions for PPE (p=0.031). Facing obstacles was also significantly associated with for both HH and PPE with specialty (p<0.001). Conclusion: Attitudes towards infection control of undergraduate and graduate students at school of nursing and health professions in George State University was overall excellent. Younger responders had better PPE utilization compared to older responders. This is followed by compliance and then perceptions. Healthcare specialty had a major influence on perceptions for PPE and compliance for HH overall. Further studies are needed to explore these findings periodically in order to improve infection control guidelines in addition to expansion on studying all individual variables and build up their significant association.