Hand hygiene and infection control survey pre- and peri-H1N1-2009 pandemic: knowledge and perceptions of final year medical students in Singapore.
ABSTRACT Infection control and hand hygiene are taught at different points in the undergraduate medical curriculum. We conducted a survey on fifth year medical (M5) students pre- and peri-influenza A (H1N1-2009) pandemic, attempting to ascertain whether the pandemic had affected their knowledge, perception and practice of hand hygiene and other aspects of infection control.
A self-administered anonymous survey of M5 students was performed between August 2008 and February 2010, corresponding to two successive classes: M5-2008 (Class of 2004/09) and M5-2009 (Class of 2005/10). Completed survey forms were collated and analysed centrally.
There were 191 and 123 respondents for M5-2008 and M5-2009, respectively, corresponding to 74.9% and 47.3% of the respective classes. More M5-2009 respondents recognised alcohol hand rub as the preferred mode of hand hygiene practice and felt that there were insufficient isolation facilities in hospitals. Otherwise, survey responses were consistent. The majority felt that few doctors practiced hand hygiene appropriately, with the major obstructing factor being lack of time during ward rounds. The most important factor for improving hand hygiene compliance among junior doctors and students was for senior clinicians to lead by example. A significant minority believed that it was necessary to isolate patients with chikungunya, malaria or HIV.
The 2009 H1N1 pandemic made little impact on medical students' knowledge and practice of infection control. Nonetheless, their responses have suggested avenues for improving infection control practice, including persuading senior clinicians to lead by example in hand hygiene practice and addressing gaps in knowledge on patient isolation policies.