Fra det videnskabelige julenummer: Hver femte kirurg vasker ikke hænder efter toiletbesøg – et etnografisk feltstudie
Ugeskr Læger 2014;176:V66434
One in five surgeons do not wash hands after visiting a toilet – an ethnographic field study
Introduction: Non-compliance with regard to hand hygiene is a major problem in the health-care system especially among surgeons and anaesthetists. The purpose of this study was to examine the hand hygiene routines after toilet visits among participants attending an international surgical congress. Methods: An observational study was conducted at the American College of Surgeons (ACS) Clinical Congress 2012 and at the American Medical Writers Association (AMWA) Congress 2012 as comparison. The study was performed as an ethnographic field study. A standardized observational matrix was developed for observing whether hand washing (as a surrogate measure of hand hygiene) was performed after toilet visits by observers. Frequencies were compared using Fisher’s exact test.Results: A total of 100 persons were observed (80% males). Of the 50 males observed at the ACS meeting, ten males did not use hand hygiene in relation to toilet visits (20%), while only one person at the AMWA meeting out of the 50 observed did not use hand hygiene (2%), p = 0.008. At both congresses only males did not use hand hygiene in relation to toilet visits.Conclusion: One in five surgeons did not wash hands after visiting a toilet. Even though the observed surgeons were not observed in an operating theatre or in a setting that required a distinct degree of hand hygiene, it does reveal a worrying behaviour. It is not known whether this was a conscious act, the result of business, or if it was due to lack of knowledge about the effects of hand hygiene on bacterial transmission.Funding: not relevant.Trial registration: This study was neither registered at the National Committee of Health Research nor at Clinical Trials since it did not meet the requirements of registration.