Honors Program

Midway Honors, Honors in Nursing

Date of Award


Thesis Professor(s)

Frances W. Sills, Joy Wachs

Thesis Professor Department


Thesis Reader(s)

Judy McCook, Aimee Rowe, Foster Levy


Hospital-acquired infections cost hospitals approximately $30.5 billion per year and also result in longer hospital stays, chronic conditions, and even death with associated malpractice costs. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, hand hygiene is a simple, effective way to prevent illness and infection. The purpose of this research was to determine if visitors to a neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) in a regional medical center comply with hand-washing policies and procedures. If NICU visitors wash their hands properly, they can prevent potentially fatal infections from spreading to patients, healthcare workers, and unaffected family members. Hand-washing compliance has been previously studied in NICU staff and other healthcare workers, but not solely visitors. The researcher observed more than 120 visitors as they entered the NICU to determine the number who washed their hands for the required three minutes. Based on the findings, NICU staff and administration will be encouraged to provide more effective education, post informative signs, and install equipment to encourage visitors to use proper hand-washing techniques. Effective hand-washing should result in lower infection rates among NICU patients and lower health care costs.

Document Type

Honors Thesis - Open Access

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.


Copyright by the authors.