Glasgow nursing student takes a closer look at six-step hand hygiene technique

Lucyna Gozdzielewska

In 2016, nurse researchers at Glasgow Caledonian University (GCU) in Scotland produced the first evidence that the six-step hand hygiene technique recommended by WHO is the most effective method and is superior to the three-step process. Now, a doctoral student in nursing has received a grant to take an even closer close look at the technique.

Lucyna Gozdzielewska will use a state-of-the-art scanner to deconstruct and assess the effectiveness of each of the six steps, in the hope of simplifying the process and honing the technique.

“By using a scanner, we hope to provide reliable and more accurate feedback and to breakdown and improve the six-step process,” said Gozdzielewska. “We already know that the six-step process is one of the most successful ways to improve hand hygiene, but we also know that it is not fully adopted by health-care practitioners.”

Researchers at GCU – a WHO Collaborating Centre on nursing and midwifery – have found that compliance with the six-step technique is lacking among health-care providers, with only 65% completing the entire hand hygiene process correctly.

“The scanner will allow us to scrutinize each of the steps to find out what works best and if the process could be simplified to increase health-care workers’ compliance,” said Gozdzielewska. The equipment will measure how much of the hands are covered when using different sequences of steps, using a florescent dye under ultraviolet light to provide feedback to the research team.