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Attitudes towards infection prevention and control: an interview study with nursing students and nurse mentors


Background Despite both national and international recommendations for good practice in infection prevention and control (IPC), compliance can be low. Several reasons for this have been identified, including staff attitudes. There is little literature on how these attitudes are perceived by nursing students learning in clinical placements, and this study was undertaken to explore perceptions of both nursing students and their mentors in relation to attitudes towards IPC.

Methods Qualitative study involving semi-structured interviews with 31 nursing students and 32 nurse mentors recruited from one large university and one large NHS Trust in the North of England.

Results Nursing students generally perceived a negative attitude towards IPC from qualified staff and identified that it was considered to be an additional workload burden as opposed to an integral aspect of patient safety and quality care. Mentors identified more positive attitudes within their areas and organisation, but their comments did not always reflect this. Mentors were more of the opinion that staff attitudes could affect student practice and learning than were students.

Discussion Nurses in practice need to be more aware of how their attitudes towards IPC can be perceived by nursing students and the possible consequences of this for student learning and practice. Staff need to work towards identifying barriers to good infection prevention practice and ways to overcome these.

  • Nursing students
  • infection prevention and control
  • mentor
  • attitudes
  • audit and feedback
  • continuing education
  • continuing professional development
  • health professions education
  • health services research
  • healthcare quality improvement

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