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  1. 1

    Rick Turner

    Thank you Prof Gilbert for your review of the debates surrounding hand hygiene. Your historical analysis demonstrates how contested even the most common knowledge has been within healthcare. I think it is time, however, to start questioning the usefulness of organising research around the use of depoliticized subjects such as “healthcare workers”, “doctors” and “nurses” and start investigating the role of more useful constructs to try and work out how we can get more people to wash their hand, more often. It is well known, for example, that women wash their hands more often than men (thus explaining at least in part why more nurses wash their hands than doctors). The question is then why and how can we get men working in health to wash their hands more often?

    See http://critcare-reflectionsofamalenurse.blogspot.com.au/2011/05/that-there-is-poop-on-them-there-hands.html

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  2. 2

    Jenny Haines

    A timely reporting that will set the cat among the pidgeons in some hospitals. But as a nurse of 35 years experience, I go blue in the face trying to get across the point that infection control is not just about hand washing. To protect patients, health care workers need to be mindful of infection control in all aspects of their work – aseptic procedure when performing procedures and dressings, the potential for cross infection when moving between patients (the need to change gowns and gloves, and handwash) the need to keep equipment clean and off the floor, are just some examples. Readers here may be horrified at some of the things that I have seen in the health system in recent years – nurses washing patients whole body after cleaning faeces around their backside with the same gloves on including near invasive line, nurses stripping beds and placing the linen and gowns on the floor then picking them up and putting them back on the patient, right next to open wounds. Hospital floors are great repositories for bugs and superbugs. There needs to be a consciousness in health workers about infection control in all aspects of their work. I was taught this with a degree of strictness by my nurse educators but that seems to be all gone now. I don’t want to go back to the days of Matron running her finger along patient beds and lockers but we do need to get back to a greater awareness that patients are at risk when health care workers do not observe good infection control procedure.

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