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Effects of Age and Race on Skin Condition and Bacterial Counts on Hands of Neonatal ICU Nurses

Citation

Sultana, Bianca; Cimiotti, Jeannie P.; Aiello, Allison E.; Sloan, Dan; & Larson, Elaine L. (2003). Effects of Age and Race on Skin Condition and Bacterial Counts on Hands of Neonatal ICU Nurses. Heart & Lung, 32(4), 283-289.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE: The purpose of this study was to assess the relationship between demographic factors such as age and race and skin condition and bacterial counts on hands of nurses. METHODS: Nurses (n = 111) working in 1 of 2 neonatal ICUs in New York City were surveyed regarding reported hand care practices and demographics, the condition of their hands was assessed by a trained observer and by themselves using validated instruments, and a hand culture was obtained. RESULTS: There were no significant differences in any skin care practices by race, but nurses who wore powder-free gloves were significantly younger than those who did not (P =.004). There were no significant differences in bacterial counts on hands of black or white nurses (mean log colony-forming units 3.49 and 3.61 respectively, P =.63) and no significant correlation between age and microbial counts (r = 0.04, P =.72). In a logistic regression analysis, race, but not age, was a significant predictor of skin health. By both observer (P =.02) and self-assessment (P =.004) black nurses had healthier skin. CONCLUSION: Physiochemical differences in skin associated with demographic factors such as age and race may be exacerbated among those in disciplines such as nursing, for whom the skin of the hands is continually stressed by occupational practices such as frequent hand hygiene. Such demographic factors need be considered when assessing skin condition and when advocating for appropriate strategies to maximize skin health. The recommendations of the new CDC Hand Hygiene Guideline for Healthcare Settings(23) regarding maintaining skin health and providing moisturizers and products that are milder to the skin are timely and should be followed.

URL

http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S0147-9563(03)00095-5

Reference Type

Journal Article

Year Published

2003

Journal Title

Heart & Lung

Author(s)

Sultana, Bianca
Cimiotti, Jeannie P.
Aiello, Allison E.
Sloan, Dan
Larson, Elaine L.