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Preventing healthcare-associated infection through education: have surgeons been overlooked?

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journal contribution
posted on 2022-04-05, 08:31 authored by Seamus M. McHugh, Arnold HillArnold Hill, Hilary HumphreysHilary Humphreys

BACKGROUND/AIMS: Some 20-30% of HCAI are considered to be preventable through an extensive infection prevention and control programme. Through an extensive literature review we aim to critically appraise studies which have utilised education initiatives to decrease HCAI.

METHODS: An extensive review of the literature was carried out in both online medical journals and through the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland library.

FINDINGS: Many studies over the last 10 years have demonstrated success in educating nursing staff, critical care healthcare workers as well as medical students and junior doctors in the infection prevention and control of infection. Comparatively few have focussed on surgical trainees. A blended learning approach, with particular focus on the small group format is important. Interventions involving web-based learning in combination with established education formats are proving successful in changing behaviour.

CONCLUSIONS: The development of an educational strategy for surgical trainees focussing on infection prevention and control is overdue. Such a programme would have far reaching benefits for individual patients, contribute to significant economic savings within health services and enhance the quality and safety of patient care.


Published Citation

McHugh SM, Hill AD, Humphreys H. Preventing healthcare-associated infection through education: have surgeons been overlooked? Surgeon 2010 Apr;8(2):96-100.

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PubMed ID



  • Beaumont Hospital
  • Clinical Microbiology
  • Surgery