HANDWASHING: Male hospital staff lax

  1. http://www.reutershealth.com/frame2/eline.html

    Male hospital staff lax on handwashing: study

    NEW YORK, Jan 16 (Reuters Health) - Studies have found that men are less strict about handwashing than women are, and new research suggests that the cleanliness gender gap extends to the medical profession.

    Australian researchers found that in their institution's critical care unit, male healthcare workers washed their hands one-third less often than female workers did after contact with an invasive instrument or a patient's skin, blood or "excretions."

    But the sex difference was not seen across all the professions, according to Thea van de Mortel and colleagues at Southern Cross University in Lismore.

    Male and female nurses had similarly high handwashing rates after patient contact. As for doctors, women washed their hands 88% of the time, compared with just 54% among men. Female ward workers washed up nearly twice as often their male counterparts, and female radiographers practiced hand hygiene more often than males, the report indicates.

    Physical therapists were the most vigilant of all. Both men and women washed their hands after every patient contact observed in the study, according to findings published in a recent issue of the American Journal of Infection Control.

    Handwashing is a basic way to limit the spread of germs in any environment. A number of studies in the general population have shown that women and girls are more likely than men and boys to wash their hands in a germ-filled situation, such as after using the bathroom, the researchers point out.

    The authors note that these results follow that trend, with the exception of nurses and physical therapists. And they speculate that "cultural" differences among the health professions might explain the various handwashing practices.

    "Pinpointing how these cultural differences arise may provide a means of boosting handwashing frequency," van de Mortel and colleagues write.

    Handwashing in the study was assessed by "covert" observers from the staff. They followed the handwashing practices of 156 men and 93 women across all hospital shifts, for 3 months.

    SOURCE: American Journal of Infection Control 2001;29:395-399.
    WE nurses have known this for years! HOW can we break this poor habit???????
  2. Visit NRSKarenRN profile page

    About NRSKarenRN, BSN, RN Moderator

    Joined: Oct '00; Posts: 27,490; Likes: 13,694
    Utilization Review, prior Intake Mgr Home Care; from PA , US
    Specialty: 40 year(s) of experience in Home Care, Vents, Telemetry, Home infusion


  3. by   -jt
    <Studies have found that men are less strict about handwashing than women are, and new research suggests that the cleanliness gender gap extends to the medical profession.....male healthcare workers washed their hands one-third less often>


    Makes you wonder about those guys bathroom habits too.
  4. by   mark_LD_RN
    I wash my hands as often as any female. I wonder about this study, why try to point out one gender? One would have to consider its valididity. Where the "unbiased" observers females.
  5. by   Jenny P
    I once had a co-worker (male) tell me that he didn't need to use paper towels (I'd told him as he was going into the BR that it was out of them and I was going to get some) as he didn't "pee on his hands so didn't need it!" I was stunned; and later told him that I don't pee on mine either; but I do wash them! Since then, I've often wondered how many guys had that type of cavalier attitude towards handwashing.......

    I hope that it isn't very many.
  6. by   Darryl Johnson
    Dirty little bludgers! If you see anyone do this send them back and make them wash their hands!!!!!
  7. by   Darryl Johnson
    Dirty little bludgers! If you see anyone do this send them back and make them wash their hands!!!!!
  8. by   mark_LD_RN
    I do was my hands after the bathroom. even though there is a difference in males and females, females generaly have to wipe after ( i hope they do), where as males can use the proper technique and not even have to touch anything but his pants to use the urinal.
    but all that said nothing rplaces hand washing, when ever i go to the restroom for anyreason I was my hands then use a paper towel to turn off water and open the door. just incase last person had dirty hands.
    The most disgusting thing I ever heard, was what my wife saw when we were at a fast food restraunt. She was in restroom saw employee leave stall after having a obvious BM, never washed there hands and went right back to work makeing burgers with their unwashed hands. we reported it to the manager immediately.
    So you see it is not just a male problem. most people are not taught proper hand washing from a young age. Nurses I think just get so rushed at times they forget or just take short cuts.

    hope you find this interesting
  9. by   Jenny P
    Wouldn't it be nice if everyone learned proper hygiene when they are little? It would probably cut down on a number of contagious diseases and their spreading.
  10. by   Cubby
    mark; Sorry if this is crude, but I gotta know "how do you get 'it'
    out of your pants, without touching 'it'?
  11. by   donmurray
    Well, you keep this piece of string tied to one of the beltloops on your trousers, which then passes over the top of your zipper and inside.........you get the idea?
    I'm fascinated!
  12. by   mario_ragucci
    Someone has to drop science here as far as the vectors of fecal-oral, or genital-oral...and what we are dealing with. The article is interesting.
    Personal hygiene, unfortunately, can't be enforced.
    When it comes to washing my hands and going to the bathroom, I tend to wash before and after, the first being the most important, to protect myself from everything I've touched (bacteria, parasites or other virus carrying substances) Ya gotta recognise that you hafta wash first, as well, if you plan on touching yourself there. Especially if you gotta go #2, obvious reasons.
    Give your own immune system some credit, because there is information out that suggests we are too bacteria free in some cases which causes problems too.
    Women have that "internal genital" thing going on, and the fluid balance associated with it. Men are mostly external, we all know. See?
    I hope I don't sound like some "mr. sensitive" talking about this
    As far as going #1 for a guy and not touching anything (gosh this is weird) all you gotta do is pull your underwear band down and go, close spincter, wait about 5 seconds and wa-la. Wiggling on tippy-toes at end is optional. Hope that helped
  13. by   KRVRN
    But your guy-part touches the waistband, which you touch again the second time you go. So you COULD be touching the genital-infested area of your waistband the second time you go to the bathroom, thus necessitating a good handwashing. So theoretically men need only wash their hands the second and subsequent times around?
  14. by   mario_ragucci
    Both times; before and after you go. Especially after, and especially before. Try to keep your hands germ free at all times, because they are your most used instraments as a health worker.
    I wash when i come into the bathroom, and on my way out. And often I wipe my hands and carry the PAPER towel with me, closing the faucet and opening the doors with it as my barrier to those two obvious noscomial points.