The outpatient cancer center operates 10 hours a day, 7 days a week. Due to cancer treatments and procedures, the patient population in the cancer center is immunosuppressed, which makes the patient population easily susceptible to acquiring infections. It is important that all clinical staff follow and adhere to guidelines, such as good hand hygiene. Some nurses in the clinic, including myself, have taken notice that providers are going from room to room without washing or sanitizing their hands before coming into contact with patients. This is a cause for concern as providers are placing already immunosuppressed patients at a higher risk of infection that can lead to hospitalizations with serious ramifications. Gammon and Hunt (2020) stated that hand washing has always been important in the healthcare setting. Hand hygiene is the public health and safe healthcare practice’s focus, as it can restrict and stop the spread of microorganisms that cause infections. Currently, the global pandemic has brought forth the role hand hygiene plays in stopping the spread of microorganisms that cause infection, such as COVID-19. A solution to the problem would be to create a patient survey where patients can anonymously answer a few questions about whether or not the provider(s) washed or sanitized their hands before and after their visit. The benefit of this solution is to bring forth hand hygiene adherence, awareness, and accountability to the cancer center, therefore reducing and preventing risk for infection among the patient population.
The purpose of this quantitative study is to examine and gain knowledge about provider hand hygiene adherence, stopping and reducing risks of infection, reinforcing hand hygiene practices and accountability. Bearman and Vokes (2019) explains that accountability focuses on patient safety practices and research studies continue to recommend that accountability guides a triumphant infection prevention plan. The survey created will take place at the cancer center, it will be anonymous, and it will ask three basic questions: 1. How many providers did you have an encounter with today?; 2. How many providers did you observe wash or sanitize their hands prior to the encounter?; and 3. How many providers did you observe wash or sanitize their hands after the encounter? The survey will be handed to patients upon arrival, and they will be instructed to fill out the survey at the end of their clinic visit and drop it off inside the locked box by the check-out desk prior to leaving the clinic. The completed surveys will be collected at the end of each week to be examined by the administrative assistant director (ADN) of the cancer center, who will examine the results and bring it to the attention of the clinic’s staff and address the problem and changes in practice.
Bearman, G. M., & Vokes, R. A. (2019). Averting a betrayal of trust: System and individual accountability in healthcare infection prevention. Infection Control & Hospital Epidemiology, 40(8), 918–919. https://doi.org/10.1017/ice.2019.137
Gammon, J., & Hunt, J. (2020). COVID-19 and hand hygiene: the vital importance of hand drying. British Journal of Nursing, 29(17), 1003–1006. https://doi.org/10.12968/bjon.2020.29.17.1003