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Nurse Educ Today. 2013 May;33(5):486-91. doi: 10.1016/j.nedt.2012.05.024. Epub 2012 Jun 18.

The barriers and motivators to learning infection control in clinical placements: interviews with midwifery students.

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Lecturer in Infection Control, School of Nursing, Midwifery & Social Work, University of Manchester, Oxford Road, M13 9PL, United Kingdom.



To investigate the barriers to and motivators for learning infection prevention and control as identified by midwifery students.


Semi-structured interviews were undertaken with 15 undergraduate midwifery students within one large university. Data were analysed using Framework Analysis.


Barriers to good clinical practice were identified by students which were concordant with previous literature related to reasons for non-compliance with infection control precautions. Issues such as competing demands specific to midwifery were also identified. Factors which act as barriers to learning good practice in placements included conflicting information and practices from different staff and placement areas and staff attitudes towards students who tried to comply with precautions. Motivators to good practice included the perceived vulnerability of infants to infection, the role modelling of good practice to new mothers and the monitoring of practice.


This study demonstrated that midwifery students perceive barriers and motivators to learning infection prevention and control in their clinical placements. Many of the barriers identified are related to the attitudes and practices of qualified staff. Some of the motivators are related specifically to midwifery practice. Midwives need to be aware of the effects of what is observed in practice on midwifery students and how their practices and attitudes can influence learning both positively and negatively. As healthcare-associated infection and poor compliance with precautions are a global problem, this research should be of benefit to midwives and midwifery educators worldwide in terms of addressing barriers and ensuring better clinical education.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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