Environmental Hygiene, Knowledge and Cleaning Practice: A Phenomenological Study of Nurses and Midwives During COVID-19
Early Online Version
American Journal of Infection Control
ANZSRC / FoR Code
Avondale Research Centre
Lifestyle and Health Research Centre
Reportable Items (HERDC/ERA)
Background: Environmental cleanliness is a fundamental tenet in nursing and midwifery but often over-shadowed in practice. This study explored nurses’and midwives’knowledge and experiences of infection prevention and control (IPC) processes and cleaning, and perceptions about workplace risk-management
Methods: Six registered and enrolled nurses (one with dual midwife qualifications) were recruited. In-depth telephone interviews were analyzed using Colaizzi's phenomenological method.
Results: Four major themes were identified: Striving towards environmental cleanliness; Knowledge and learning feeds good practice; There's always doubt in the back of your mind; and COVID has cracked it wide open. These articulate the nurses’and midwives’experiences and knowledge of IPC, particularly during
Discussion: The findings emphasize the dynamic, interdependent nature of clinical (time, staff knowledge and compliance, work processes, hospital design) and organizational contexts and environmental cleanliness, which must be constantly maintained. COVID-19 opened up critical insights regarding poor past practices and lack of IPC compliance.
Conclusions: COVID-19 has highlighted the criticality of environmental cleanliness within clinical and community settings. Evidence-based, experiential learning is important for nurses and midwives at all career stages, but provides only one solution. Clinician-led hospital design may also reduce the spread of infection; thus, promoting better patient care
Link to publisher version (DOI)
Curryer, C., Russo, P. L., Kiernan, M., Wares, K., Smith, K., & Mitchell, B. G. (2021). Environmental hygiene, knowledge and cleaning practice: A phenomenological study of nurses and midwives during COVID-19. American Journal of Infection Control, 49(9), 1123-1128. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ajic.2021.04.080