• antibiotic prophylaxis;
  • caesarean birth;
  • compliance;
  • surgical nursing empowerment;
  • wound infections


Title. Empowering surgical nurses improves compliance rates for antibiotic prophylaxis after caesarean birth.

Aim.  This paper is a report of a study of the effect of empowering surgical nurses to ensure that patients receive antibiotic prophylaxis after caesarean birth.

Background.  Despite the consensus that single dose antibiotic prophylaxis is beneficial for women have either elective or non-elective caesarean delivery, hospitals need methods to increase compliance rates.

Method.  In a study in Israel in 2007 surgical nurses were empowered to ensure that a single dose of cefazolin was given to the mother after cord clamping. A computerized system was used to identify women having caesarean births, cultures sent and culture results. Compliance was determined by chart review. Rates of compliance, suspected wound infections, and confirmed wound infections in 2007 were compared to rates in 2006 before the policy change. Relative risks were calculated dividing 2007 rates by those in 2006, and 95% confidence intervals were calculated using Taylor’s series that does not assume a normal distribution. Statistical significance was assessed using the chi-square test.

Findings.  The compliance rate was increased from 25% in 2006 to 100% in 2007 (chi-square test, P < 0·001). Suspected wound infection rates decreased from 16·8% (186/1104) to 12·6% (137/1089) after the intervention (relative risk 0·75, 95% confidence interval, 0·61–0·92).

Conclusion.  Surgical nurses can ensure universal compliance for antibiotic prophylaxis in women after caesarean birth, leading to a reduction in wound infections.