• basic nursing education;
  • compliance;
  • content analysis;
  • hand hygiene;
  • hand washing



Although hand hygiene (HH) is the cheapest and simplest tool for the prevention of hospital-acquired infections, poor HH compliance has been reported among health care professionals. A variety of factors influence the compliance with HH guidelines, the most important being the quality of the basic nursing education. The aims of this study were to analyze the effectiveness of the basic nursing education in relation to HH, and to explore the skills and attitudes toward HH among nursing students in praxis.

Design and Sample

A mixed-method approach using a cross-sectional survey combined with observation and curricular analysis was used. A total of 188 nursing students participated in the study.


Content analysis revealed significant deficits in the quality of HH-related information in basic nursing educational programs. Our results correlate directly with the reported insufficient levels of HH knowledge and the associated poor HH compliance by students during their training in clinical settings; as shown in observation and questionnaire-based surveys.


The lack of compliance with HH standards among students lead to poor compliance among health care professionals in praxis. Consequently, the role of educational institutions in the prevention of hospital-acquired infections is significant, if the effectiveness of HH education is to be improved.