Seconds Of Safety Port Angeles, S.O.S. PA

Submitted by Stefanie Carroll, Ryan Dill, Stacy Forshaw, Melissa Hamilton, Megan Larrechea, Stephanie Speicher

Tags: health care health care professionals hygiene safety

Seconds Of Safety Port Angeles, S.O.S. PA

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Based on the educational need presented by the World Health Organization, second year nursing students of Peninsula College in Port Angeles, Washington, implemented a community outreach campaign focused on hand hygiene awareness. The campaign, “Seconds of Safety Port Angeles (S.O.S.PA),” applied guiding principles from the World Health Organization to educate the general public and health-care staff of the Olympic Medical Centers in both Port Angeles and Sequim, Washington. The students also conducted education at the Clallam County (Washington) Fair, Encore! Adult Daycare center, the Peninsula College campus, and local area businesses. The team, led by Peninsula College Nursing Faculty Bonnie Rathod RN, MN, consisted of students Stefanie Carroll, Ryan Dill, Stacy Forshaw, Melissa Hamilton, Megan Larrechea, and Stephanie Speicher.

In April of 2013, the team gathered to identify populations in our community that would benefit from hand hygiene education. A campaign was constructed and implemented over the summer, culminating on October 15, 2013, Global Hand Washing Day.

Our initial goal focused on educating health-care professionals, but our understanding that patients play a critical role in promoting their own health led us to focus on health-care consumers. We felt this population had less exposure to hygiene education. In addition to using the WHO guidelines, we also gathered information on hand hygiene awareness from community participants.

Living in a seaside community, we thought it fitting to design a nautical themed poster reminding health-care consumers that “Clean Hands Save Lives” and handed out an orange silicone bracelet reminiscent of the buoy on the artwork, with our logo and slogan, to remind individuals to wash their hands. In addition, a short survey was given to participants, asking questions regarding hand hygiene on a three-point Likert scale. This also obtained demographic information.

We focused our education on proper hand washing technique with a minimum of 15 seconds of brisk hand rubbing while covering all areas of both hands. This included between the fingers and under the nails while making sure to apply enough friction to remove dirt and bacteria. We stressed the importance of avoiding recontamination when turning off the sink and leaving the restroom. Hand gel technique centered on hand rubbing until the product has been completely absorbed, as opposed to allowing the alcohol to evaporate.

Our initiation at the Clallam County Fair was welcomed by the community. We were able to conduct 182 surveys, and receive requests for education at various facilities including the sites mentioned above. An additional 71 surveys were collected from the other sites resulting in a total of 253 survey responses. The results are as follows: 97% [246] agreed “hand hygiene is important to me,” 3% [7] neither agreed nor disagreed, and 0% [0] disagreed; 100% [252] agreed “it is important that my health-care provider washes or sanitizes their hands before examining me,” 0% [1] neither agreed nor disagreed, and 0% [0] disagreed; and 83% [210] agreed “I would feel comfortable asking my health-care provider to wash or sanitize their hands,” 10% [25] neither agreed nor disagreed, and 7% [18] disagreed.

Though we closed up the first cycle of S.O.S PA with Global Hand Washing Day on October 15, 2013, excitement continues to build for the project. To meet both the need for this critical teaching in our community, as well as presentation requests, we plan on passing the baton to the incoming second-year nursing students. This will ensure additional positive presence by the Peninsula College Nursing Program in Clallam County as well as ensure project dissemination to neighboring Jefferson County and the Western Olympic Peninsula. The project was made possible by the generous support of the Peninsula College Foundation. We also would like to thank the PC graphic design department and the very receptive staff of Olympic Medical Center.