Factors affecting medical-surgical area nurses' compliance with contact precautions
Multidrug-resistant organisms are a significant threat in health care facilities, and are associated with many adverse consequences for infected patients. However, despite these concerns and the evidence that contact precautions are an effective way to address them, compliance with contact precautions guidelines among health care workers remains low (Farr, 2000). The primary goal of this study was to examine factors affecting medical-surgical nurses' compliance with contact precautions guidelines when caring for patients colonized by or infected with multidrug-resistant organisms. A secondary purpose of this study was to describe demographic characteristics of medical-surgical nurses to determine if certain characteristics (e.g. age, time in practice, level of education) had a relationship with their compliance in using contact precautions guidelines. Finally, this study examined barriers to the use of contact precautions and consequences for failure to follow contact precautions guidelines. A survey tool was developed by the researcher for this study to examine these questions, and an exploratory, cross-sectional, correlation descriptive study was conducted. The study group was made up primarily of female nurses with associate or bachelor degrees. Nurses from the orthopedic and neurosurgery unit made up the largest percentage of respondents. All respondents indicated that they were familiar with CP guidelines. Eight primary barriers to the use of contact precautions were listed by participants. Half of the participants listed one of the time management categories ("no time" or "urgency") as the primary barrier to compliance with contact precautions. Participants' age, years experience and level of education were not statistically significant predictors of the participants' level of compliance. There was not a statistically significant difference between the barriers to compliance groups (no time/urgency versus other) on their ability to comply with contact precautions. Lastly, there was not a statistically significant relationship among the primary consequence of non-compliance with CP guidelines (medical versus other) and the participants' level of compliance (low versus high).