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Br J Nurs. 2017 Nov 9;26(20):1121-1126. doi: 10.12968/bjon.2017.26.20.1121.

Assessing students' knowledge of healthcare-associated infections: a global perspective.

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Health Promotion Advisor, Care UK, HMP Wormwood Scrubs, London.
Senior Lecturer in Primary Care, Faculty of Education and Health, University of Greenwich, London.


The aim of this review was to explore students' knowledge of healthcare-associated infections (HCAIs) from a global perspective. HCAIs may be the result of treatment in or contact with healthcare or social care settings and have been shown to cause an increase in morbidity, mortality and increased length of hospital stay. Student placements may involve interactions between university students, patients and/or health professionals and this may be a source of cross-contamination of the microbial agents that cause HCAIs. This situation may be exacerbated in some countries owing to variations in the levels of infrastructure development, knowledge, and economic status. A literature search was carried out, resulting in 12 studies selected for review. Findings were organised into two themes: nursing students' knowledge of HCAIs and students in other health-related subjects' knowledge of HCAIs. Nursing students' knowledge was adequate in some aspects of HCAIs, although poor in certain areas. Knowledge of HCAIs varied between students studying different health-related subjects. Curriculum differences between the student groups may account for this variation. A review of the curricula for healthcare students should ensure they include training and practical skills in the prevention of HCAIs, including modes of disease transmission, handwashing and disinfection techniques.


Clostridium difficile; Cross-infection; Healthcare-associated infections; Infection control; Meticillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus; Patient safety; Students

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