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Applying Self-efficacy Theory to Hand Hygiene Compliance


Applying Self-efficacy Theory to Hand Hygiene Compliance

            Hand hygiene is one of the most important components of quality care within the healthcare system as it helps in the prevention of nosocomial infections to both patients and staff. Hand hygiene is particularly important within the emergency department given that it is a free entry point for pathogens within the hospital environment. However, despite the recognition of the importance of hand hygiene, this continues to be among one of the most overlooked areas.

To promote proper compliance with hand hygiene within the emergency department, Bandura’s self-efficacy theory can be utilized. The self-efficacy theory states that the confidence that individuals have in their abilities to conduct tasks or adhere to certain behaviors is strongly related to one’s own abilities to perform that particular behavior or task (Pedersen et al, 2014). Therefore, to enhance hand hygiene, it is important to promote the self-efficacy of those working within the emergency department.

To apply the self-efficacy theory, programs and interventions will be implemented to promote the confidence of the staff to effectively comply with proper hand hygiene. By improving the self-efficacy of the nurses and other practitioners working within the emergency department, improved adherence to proper behaviors including effective hand hygiene.

To apply the theory in real-time, the self-efficacies of the employees will be promoted by providing training and awareness opportunities to the staff, rewarding proper compliance with hand hygiene and reprimanding non-compliance, and reducing adverse conditions that might negatively impact on proper compliance such as crammed ED rooms and inadequate hand washing equipment. Doing this will capitalize on the various sources of self-efficacy as articulated by Bandura and so the confidence of the staff will be improved thereby fostering better hand hygiene compliance.


Pedersen, M. M., Zebis, M. K., Langberg, H., Poulsen, O. M., Mortensen, O. S., Jensen, J. N., Sjøgaard, G., Bredahl, T., … Andersen, L. L. (2014). Influence of self-efficacy on compliance to workplace exercise. International journal of behavioral medicine, 20(3), 365-70.


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