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BackgroundMedical students served as covert observers of hand hygiene (HH) compliance by health care workers (HCWs) during a recent 1-year study at a teaching hospital in Taiwan. This report describes the students' experience and their views of the major factors that led to good or poor compliance.MethodsNine upper class medical students received a basic course in HH and attended a workshop using World Health Organization standard training materials. A standardized observation tool was used to collect data on HH performance by the HCWs. On completion of the study, structured face-to-face interviews were conducted to assess the students' experiences.ResultsThe medical students observed a total of 17,742 HH opportunities during the study period. Eight of the 9 students participated in the poststudy interviews. Overall, the students believed that they had gained considerable knowledge of the attitudes regarding HH compliance by nurses, physicians, and surgeons according to each of the 5 HH indications. Based on their experience, they recommended that compliance could be improved by ensuring an adequate supply of HH products and by promoting role modeling in the ward, reminding, education in small groups, and objective structured clinical examinations.ConclusionsThe opportunity for medical students to serve as covert observers broadened their knowledge of how infections are transmitted in hospitals and of the barriers that must be overcome to improve HCWs' HH compliance.
Journal: American Journal of Infection Control - Volume 42, Issue 3, March 2014, Pages 231–234