Hand hygiene is essential to any procedure. Yet its implementation decreases among dental students as they gain clinical experience, according to researchers from Chulalongkorn University in Bangkok, Thailand.
The researchers collected bacterial samples on the hands of 120 first-, second-, and third-year clinical training and postgraduate students using a swab technique before and after they washed their hands for oral surgical procedures.
Next, the researchers cultured the samples and counted the colony-forming units. They also administered self-reported questionnaires to the students reflecting their knowledge, attitudes, and practices related to hand hygiene.
The handwashing eliminated more than 99% of the bacteria. However, significantly higher numbers of bacteria were recovered from the hands of the postgraduates compared to the hands of the clinical training students.
Also, the hands of the third-year clinical students had significantly higher numbers of bacteria than the first-year students after hand hygiene. The first-year clinical students had the highest attitude scores, while the postgraduates had the lowest practice scores. The knowledge scores were similar for all groups.
The researchers concluded that the effectiveness, attitudes, and practices of hand hygiene among dental students decrease as students gain more clinical experience, whereas knowledge did not. They also concluded that hand hygiene instruction should be provided throughout the duration of the dental students’ education.
The study, “Dental Student Hand Hygiene Decreased With Increased Clinical Experience,” was written by Nanmanas Yaembut, DDS, MS; Ruchanee S. Ampornaramveth, DDS, PhD; Pagaport P. Pisamturakit, DDS, PhD; and Keskanya Subbalekha, DDS, PhD. It was published by the Journal of Surgical Education.