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Promoting Hand Hygiene With Hip-Hop

Boston hospital gets creative to boost handwashing compliance.

Published: June 3, 2009

Rapping nurses, undercover agents and thousands of hand sanitizer dispensers: They’re all part of an aggressive campaign that has helped Massachusetts General Hospital boost its hand-washing compliance from about 30% 5 years ago to nearly 100% in some units of the facility today.

You can’t walk more than a few feet in the hospital without encountering a dispenser of hand sanitizer, says Judy Tarselli, RN. "There are literally thousands of dispensers in this hospital." But that doesn’t mean everyone uses them when they’re supposed to.

One nurse at Mass General came up with a creative way to spread the message about hand hygiene, producing a rap music video called the "Cal Stat Rap" (Cal Stat is the hand sanitizer used at the hospital). The video features nurses and patients rhyming and dancing as they demonstrate how and when to use the sanitizer.

Meanwhile, Ms. Tarselli takes on the role of undercover agent, roaming the halls of the hospital to check up on staff compliance with the hospital’s hand hygiene policy, which calls for using hand sanitizer or soap and water after every contact with a patient or any object near a patient, such as medical equipment or pagers.

Irene Tsikitas

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