Stethoscope Care Practices of Nurses in Sulu Provincial Hospital, Sulu, Philippines

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Charisma S. Ututalum
Custer C. Deocaris
Krysha Macapendeg


Stethoscope Care, Practices, Disinfection, Compliance


Background: Regular disinfection practices of the stethoscope, although regarded as a non-critical medical device, is emphasized as a practical and straightforward way of reducing healthcare-associated infections (HCAIs). However, in a resource-poor setting, strict compliance may be hindered by the nurses’ lack of knowledge of its care and sense of ownership.
Purpose: This study explored the compliance of stethoscope disinfection by nurses as well as assessed associated factors affecting practice in a resource-constrained setting in Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM), Philippines.
Methods: A cross-sectional descriptive study involving thirty-six nurses in various units of the Sulu Provincial Hospital using a Nurses’ Stethoscope Usage Questionnaire was done.
Results: The majority of the nurses were found compliant with their stethoscopes' regular disinfection, with more than 50% being conscious in swabbing the instrument with alcohol. Compared to the younger nurses (age < 30 years), there appeared to be a greater tendency for older respondents (age > 30 years) to clean their stethoscope diaphragm before (p=0.010) and after use (p=0.030) than the other parts, i.e., earpiece, bell, and ear tube. The same trend was evident for nurses who have more extended professional practice (> 3 years) than those who had been working in the hospital for less than three years (p=0.030). None of the nurses surveyed owned the stethoscopes they use in the clinic, and such had an influenced on how thorough the instrument was being disinfected or cleaned. Better stethoscope disinfection compliance was also attributable to adequate knowledge of stethoscope parts and use.
Conclusions and Implications for Practice: While the results of this study were broadly consistent with the role of knowledge and education program on stethoscope disinfection behavior, a key finding to further improve compliance is by addressing the ownership issues of stethoscopes. This intervention can provide nurses with a stronger sense of personal responsibility towards stethoscope care and hygiene.

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