From the desk of Adrianne E. Avillion, DEd, RN

Staff Development Weekly: Insight on Evidence-Based Practice in Education, April 13, 2012

Editor's note: This feature is written by nursing professional development expert Adrianne E. Avillion, DEd, RN. Each week, Adrianne writes about an important issue in the area of professional development or answers reader questions. If you have a question for Adrianne, e-mail her at

Teaching about infection control
Infection control issues are taking center stage as never before. Thanks to the CMS rulings on failure to reimburse for a multitude of hospital-acquired conditions, nursing professional development (NPD) specialists and infection control practitioners now have significant leverage regarding educating all hospital employees about the importance of infection control. One of the most effective ways to gain the support and cooperation of healthcare professionals is to provide evidence as part of education.

Arguably, every hospital employee knows when and how they are supposed to wash their hands (with periodic reminders), wear gloves, use sterile technique when catheterizing a patient, etc. However, employees need to know the impact of doing so and of failing to do so. Incorporate relevant statistics from your own organization pertaining to infection rates, patient outcomes affected by hospital-acquired infections, costs related to infections, and data that reflect the problem on a national level. Adults need to know why they are learning and what impact education will have on patient outcomes.

Two especially valuable sources for these types of issues are the World Health Organization ( and the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention ( These organizations not only have relevant research findings but offer strategies for prevention of all types of infections. When planning and designing infection control education, incorporate information from these resources.

Also remember to incorporate the most fundamental principle of adult learning: adults need to know how the information they learn will benefit them in their job performance and in life. Share relevant statistical data so that staff members can see that implementing appropriate infection control care bundles really makes a difference in patient outcomes.

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