Vendetti-Hastie, Stephanie, Shannon Dowdall-Smith, & Phyllis Montgomery (2015, Winter). Northern healthcare students’ perceptions of hand hygiene in community practice. Canadian Journal of Infection Control, 30(4), 218-224. (Access:

Abstract: Background: While there is some literature addressing healthcare student hand hygiene practices in acute care settings, less is known of students’ hand hygiene practices in community healthcare settings. This study describes undergraduate healthcare students’ perspectives of hand hygiene at the beginning of their public health clinical placement in northeastern Ontario. Methods: Using Q methodology, 57 students from three health discipline programs sorted 34 statements about hand hygiene perceptions and practices. These statements were developed from a scoping review of student-sampled hand hygiene evidence published after 2007. Q analysis was used to identify correlations between students who held similar and different perspectives concerning hand hygiene. Results: The results yielded three discrete perspectives about priorities for engaging in hand hygiene. These included perceived protection; personal- and empirical-informed assessment; and availability of traditional hand hygiene supplies. Common across these perspectives was consensus that illness prevention and health protection influenced students’ intention to engage in hand hygiene in community healthcare settings. Conclusions: These findings have the potential to inform the development of a healthcare student orientation curriculum in the public health or community healthcare setting specifically regarding infection prevention and control and hand hygiene.

Stephanie Vendetti-Hastie <> is in Infection Control, Public Health Nurse, Health Control Divison, Sudbury, Ontario, Canada.