Should classroom setting hand hygiene training be a thing of the past?

Classroom setting learning

It is widely known that practicing quality hand hygiene is critical to help prevent the spread of infections. However, many do not realise that it is also imperative to deliver hand hygiene training frequently to help achieve proficiency. It is important to note that many hospitals take the traditional classroom setting approach to educating workers in hand hygiene, which can typically consist of a sign in sheet, a PowerPoint presentation, videos, a practical demonstration of hand hygiene technique and an assessment. Consequently, because healthcare professionals need to be gathered together at the one time, repeated training sessions may not be possible as they are quite time consuming. Another issue is that workers can lack enthusiasm towards their training and it may be difficult to encourage engagement. However, by combining technology with hand hygiene training, learning can be fun and interactive which can ultimately improve compliance.


The World Health Ogranization (WHO) hand hygiene technique is a psychomotor skill, the same as riding a bike or tying your shoelaces. As we all know, learning these skills takes a lot of time, practice, mistakes and feedback.  Therefore, without a similar process, how can healthcare staff be expected to memorise this 6 step process? By educating correctly, professionals can build a habit in hand hygiene, meaning the WHO technique will be automatic every time the hands are cleaned. A practice-rest-repeat technique helps to build muscle memory, therefore, helping to reduce the spread of infections and improve patient outcomes.

A proven approach to achieving proficiency

A study conducted at Yale University found that psychomotor skills are best taught through multiple training sessions. This paper followed Ericsson’s deliberate practice framework. He identifies that the key components for skills development are:

  1. A task with a well-defined goal
  2. Learners who are motivated to improve performance
  3. Access to immediate performance feedback on practice
  4. Access to ample opportunities

However, traditional hand hygiene training does not meet this criteria. Subsequently, a single hand hygiene class is not adequate. Most noteworthy, this particular study found that proficiency is achieved after 32 hand hygiene training sessions. The WHO technique is not an easy skill to master and healthcare professionals can not be expected to be proficient without the appropriate training. Technology however is more convenient, time savvy and cost effective. Also, a significant benefit of utilising technology is that it is objective, ensuring everyone is trained and assessed to the same standard. Learn more about this study here.

SureWash technology

SureWash is designed to be available 24/7 in the workplace to make training as convenient and accessible as possible. The system can be moved between departments to ensure all staff are trained. However, it’s the quality of training that makes our technology so attractive. Studies show that shorter, repeated training sessions are the most effective. Therefore, SureWash combines a series of levels, each with a challenge, As the user progresses through each level, it gets more difficult. This tests the user, but the technology also provides real-time feedback to help them progress and achieve proficiency. By implementing SureWash, an IP trainer is no longer needed at the time of training. Assessments are also objective meaning everyone is trained and assessed to the same standard. This can be easily tracked on our reporting suite, as staff can log in using their ID badge, removing the need for a physical sign in sheet as it captures all training and results.

Subsequently, SureWash helps facilities shift away from traditional classroom setting hand hygiene training, towards a new innovative approach to learning. To answer our initial question of whether classroom setting hand hygiene training should be a thing of the past, it is clear that it’s definitely not the most effective process for teaching the WHO 6 step technique. As a result of numerous studies showing that a ‘practice-rest-repeat’ technique is the best way to learn psychomotor skills, technology needs to play a part in the training process.

You can learn more about SureWash here.