Prince George Health Services 2020 Hand Hygiene Campaign received a helping hand this year from 28 College of New Caledonia (CNC) Health Care Assistant (HCA) students.
The campaign, which strived to increase awareness amongst staff, physicians, patients, and families about the importance of handwashing to prevent transmission of micro-organisms, saw students provide 215 hand hygiene in-services at long-term care facilities between March 3 to April 16.
“The students worked really hard at this,” said HCA instructor Jocelyn Bergeron. “Being a part of this campaign was a fun and exciting way for students to work on their communication skills and build self-confidence.”
As implementation Lead for Prince George Health Services, Debra Woods was tasked with putting some hand washing in-services together at long term care facilities. While developing the campaign, she was given Bergeron’s number. Woods reached out in the hope that CNC’s HCA students might be willing to participate.
“I didn’t know it at the time, but the HCA students would become a significant resource to support the campaign,” she said. “Without the students, we wouldn’t have achieved the reach that we did.”
Bergeron, intrigued by Woods’ request, was determined to help. To incentivize her students, she offered participation in the PG Hand Hygiene Campaign as a replacement for an upcoming APA research paper.
“It wasn’t mandatory,” Bergeron said. “Students could still write the research paper if they preferred. But every single student chose to participate, including seven in Mackenzie.”
At dinner time, the HCA students could be responsible for engaging up to 30 residents in hand washing at a time. Throughout the campaign, students also filled out tracking sheets after each in service, which Woods said provides valuable information for future hand hygiene campaigns.
“I think it went really well,” Woods said. “We have residents who loved the campaign and now identify as hand washing champions. We also have some ideas for what it takes to make the campaign work with residents with dementia. The students really did a great job.”
The feedback Bergeron received from the students was very positive and she hopes future cohorts of HCA students will participate in the PG Hand Hygiene Campaign.
“It was a fun experience for both the students and me,” she said. “Our team of HCA instructors at CNC are extremely dedicated and try our best to incorporate new, positive learning experiences in our curriculum. The 2020 Prince George Health Services Hand Hygiene Campaign was a great example of that.”