Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland
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Personal protective equipment training & lived experience for healthcare staff during COVID-19

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journal contribution
posted on 2022-04-11, 16:00 authored by J Cahill, A Kay, V Howard, B Mulcahy, M Forde, S George, E Ziampra, F Duffy, G Lacey, Fidelma FitzpatrickFidelma Fitzpatrick
Objectives: To describe the lived experience of healthcare staff during the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic relating to the use of personal protective equipment (PPE) and investigate risks associated with PPE use, error mitigation and acceptability of mindfulness incorporation into PPE practice.
Methods: A qualitative human factors' study at two Irish hospitals occurred in late 2020. Data was collected by semi-structured interview and included role description, pre-COVID-19 PPE experience, the impact of COVID-19 on lived experience, risks associated with PPE use, contributory factors to errors, error mitigation strategies and acceptability of incorporating mindfulness into PPE practice.
Results: Of 45 participants, 23 of whom were nursing staff (51%), 34 (76%) had previously worn PPE and 25 (56%) used a buddy system. COVID-19 lived experience impacted most on social life/home-work interface (n=36, 80%). Nineteen staff (42%) described mental health impacts. The most cited risk concerned 'knowledge of procedures' (n=18, 40%). Contributory factors to PPE errors included time (n=15, 43%) and staffing pressures (n=10, 29%). Mitigation interventions included training/education (n=12, 40%). The majority (n=35, 78%) supported mindfulness integration into PPE practice.
Conclusions: PPE training should address healthcare staff lived experiences and consider incorporation of mindfulness and key organisational factors contributing to safety.


Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) - PPE Safe project



The original article is available at

Published Citation

Cahill J, et al. Personal protective equipment training & lived experience for healthcare staff during COVID-19. Clin Infect Pract. 2022:100142.

Publication Date

23 March 2022

PubMed ID



  • Beaumont Hospital
  • Clinical Microbiology


Elsevier B.V.


  • Published Version (Version of Record)