At the same time the pandemic placed a huge burden on hospital infection prevention teams, it triggered a rapid overhaul of the way they delivered training.

washing hands

Bringing people into a room for face-to-face training did not meet COVID safety protocols, and so these usually hands-on sessions needed to be rapidly redesigned.

A paper just published in the American Journal of Infection Control describes how, in the early phase of the pandemic, the training of hand hygiene auditors at Peter Mac shifted to online only.

The time needed to complete the major training session was also cut in half (from 8 hours in-person to 4 hours online) and made more flexible, able to be completed over two weeks.

Associate Professor Leon Worth, lead author on the paper, said the changes were all positive and served as a model for delivering online training that meets strict healthcare standards.

“At an incredibly busy time, our infection prevention team needed to change and re-write how training was delivered to staff who would play key roles in the pandemic response,” says Associate Professor Worth, who is Medical Director of Infection Prevention at Peter Mac.

“Shifting this training online, and reducing the time needed to complete it, led to both a doubling in the number of hand hygiene auditors able to be trained and it improved results in their final assessments.”

Thirteen new auditors were trained Peter Mac in 2018 and in 2019, again before the pandemic, a further 12 were trained. In 2021, with the pandemic in full swing, 24 new auditors were trained.

The newly minted auditors had fewer errors in their final assessments than those trained before the pandemic.

The paper is titled “Hands off hand hygiene training”: Implementation of a COVID safe auditor training program”, and you can read the paper in full online.

Co-authors were Peter Mac Infection Prevention Manager Elizabeth Gillespie and, Infection Prevention Nurse Consultant Cheryl Faul.


For more information contact the Peter Mac Communications team on 0417 123 048.

About Peter Mac:

Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre is a world-leading cancer research, education and treatment centre and Australia’s only public health service solely dedicated to caring for people affected by cancer.