Hand hygiene management among nurses: collective health challenges

Gestión del procedimiento de la higiene de las manos por enfermeros: desafíos para la salud colectiva

João Manuel Graveto Cristina Santos Paulo Santos Costa Elisabete Fernandes Susana Alarico Nádia Osório Helena Albano Vânia Oliveira About the authors



To describe the determining factors in hand hygiene management among nurses and identify associated collective health challenges.


Cross-sectional descriptive study. Data were collected using a questionnaire that was applied in four internal medicine units of a hospital of reference in Portugal.


The sample was composed of 50 nurses aged 26 to 55 years (mean age of 34.88 years); 80% were women, 58% had a Bachelor’s degree, and had 5-30 years of nursing practice (X̄ =11.94;±5.92). The vast majority of nurses (90%) reported complying with the existing recommendations on hand hygiene in pre-established moments. However, none of the nurses were able to identify all the moments for hand hygiene using water and soap or alcohol-based handrub.


This study shows that continuous training, adequate materials/structures in the units, and redesigned administration/supervision practices are determining factors to achieve higher levels of adherence to hand hygiene among nurses, as well as increased quality and safety in care delivery, which is a current collective health challenge.

Health Services Administration; Hand Hygiene; Nurses; Infection Control; Public Health Nursing

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