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Hospital Surface, Environment and Hospital-Associated Infection

Research statement

A healthy and safe working environment is very essential in successful running of a hospital and minimization of poor environment associated with infections (1, 2, 4, 7). Ensuring that health workers have proper and clean working environment forms the main recipe for their effectiveness in production and the overall sustainability of effective hospital operations (14). Therefore, health employees are usually exposed to different infections from their environment and as they attend to the patients. This is a major health risk in the sense that most of the diseases are highly contagious and can affect them and their families (16).

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They are also exposed to highly reactive dangerous chemicals. It is notable that high tech research institutions in major hospitals involve use of highly reactive chemicals that are equally harmful to nurses and other medical experts (20). Employees in radiotherapy sections are exposed to high radiations that may have long term negative effects on their health. Whereas such incidences are indeed not uncommon, the ability to provide the correct safe and secure environment for the health professionals is one of the most critical aspects in determining their ability to offer their critical services (11, 16). In addition, high exposure to injurious working environment, infectious diseases and illnesses acquired in the course of nurses operations negatively affects them physically, physiologically as well as socially. Teichman links the present high levels of occupational hazards for the healthcare professionals to lack of effective policy for addressing similar cases (18).


The hypothesis developed to assist in dressing the research h question is that exposure to unclean hospital surfaces and environments is the main cause of infections to nurses and other healthcare professionals working in such environments.


This research proposal on contaminated hospital surfaces and environment is geared towards achieving the following aims and objectives.

  • To determine the problem of infection among health workers associated with exposure to contaminated hospital surfaces and environment.
  • To determine the available risk management approaches that need to be incorporated as part of the daily running of hospital functions.
  • To establish the consultative mechanisms which have been set between employees and a hospital management in addressing different health and safety issues.
  • To critically analyze the provision of capacity building systems, programs and supervision that assist in identifying and eliminating any hazard present in a hospital work place environment.
  • To establish the best methods of addressing the rising levels of new hazard.
  • To determine factors which have hindered most hospitals from maintaining safe environments
  • To determine legislative and policy frameworks regarding surface infections.

Literature review

Provision of safe workplace environment is definitely critical especially in regards to the health sector. Barnett posits that many health employees are usually exposed to different infections as they attend to patients and from the environment they are working in (2). Exposure to infections from the immediate hospital environment is a major health risk since most of the diseases are highly contagious and can affect caregivers as well as spread to their families (3, 8, 17).

Besides, they are also exposed to highly reactive and dangerous chemicals which may sometimes spill in their environment and contaminate surfaces, water and the materials they are using. At this point, it is notable that state-of-the-art research hospitals often conduct research studies and use highly reactive chemicals that are equally harmful to the very researchers and medical experts (9, 10, 13,15). In addition, employees in radiotherapy sections are exposed to high level of radiations being emitted by radiotherapy machines. As a matter of fact, this may have long term negative effects on their overall health and well being.


The research methodology that will be applied in this study will be designed to achieve the set objectives of the paper. Data collection for this research will be done through both primary and secondary methods. Some of the resource materials for analysis of this research study will include published books and peer reviewed journals on the relevant topic. The researcher will use the secondary sources to examine how hospital surfaces and the environment can be infectious to hospital staff. Primary sources of information will come from group and in-depth interviews that will be conducted. In addition, questionnaires will be given to respondents and through surveys.

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The target population in the research will be health workers and employees in a hospital setting. The knowledge of their work environment and experiences they have had due to exposure to contaminated surfaces will be important in ensuring that data collected is accurate and based on informed synthesis of the variables involved. With closer evaluation of the available policies and regulations in hospitals, the research will look into various hospital organizations and how they affect environmental health and safety policies.

Besides, it will explore the implications of the policies demands in organizations management and establish possible problems that they encounter during their application. Notably, the study will use human resource management theories and principles of enhancing productivity in the work place and derive recommendations for the problems that hospitals face in dealing with environmental issues to get higher productivity.

An additional research tool and design will be online survey through the questionnaires dispatched to selected hospital staff employees. As already mentioned, supplementary data will be obtained from secondary sources such as books, journals, magazines as well as web resources. Experimental methods will be used by utilizing questionnaires as the research tools. The choice of questionnaire as a research instrument is drawn from the fact that it can cover variety of areas touching hospital hygiene in addition to the fact that a large number of the target population would be reached. Moreover, quantitative method is perceived to be very cost effective for the research.

It is definite that use of online surveys would be best suitable to collect quantitative data since it saves time. In line with this, there will be need to reinforce this method with qualitative methods since the former gives figurative data only. In this case, the research study will incline towards analytical information through observation of the target group. It is imperative to note that qualitative methods allow in-depth interaction between the researcher and the targeted group.

Company employees will be given questionnaire forms for filling which will then be collected. However, consent will have to be sought from relevant hospital managers. Additionally, both open and closed research questions will be used to gather data. However, confidential questions will not be used in the questionnaires. In terms of research design, observations will be used to qualify data collected from employees in regards to environmental hygiene in healthcare establishments. The collected data will then be measured against the relevant data from previous research. This will assist towards interpretation of results. The task of analyzing and interpreting data will be combined with final presentation of the findings. It is expected that with the availability of required resources in terms of literature, personnel and finances, the research will be completed successfully within the set deadline.


Occupational health and safety is the most important aspect in any organizational establishment (6, 10). Effective environmental safety laws should be applied with greater emphasis to ensure that all the health practitioners comply as this will guarantee the best and safe operating environment for workers (17, 18). It is important to note that most hospitals cry foul of the high cost associated with meeting the required environmental health and safety standards. However, the success of hospital operations is measured using a multiplicity of factors including motivation and satisfaction of the employees on the work they do as well as their health and safety from environmental and surface hazards that may cause infections (12, 15, 17).

According to Tseng and Li, all chemicals and hazardous substances that health centers use should be accompanied by necessary protective precautions well indicated on their seals (19). It is important that all employees in a hospital setting be given correct attire that prevents them from contracting various contagious diseases from the environment and hospital surfaces. As provided for by the health laws, new health establishments should be assessed before licenses are issued to guarantee that they comply with the legislation. In agreement, Fabian indicates that the design of institutions such as hospitals and health centers are supposed to be approved to ensure that they give the correct space for its activities in an effective manner (5). This will allow stringent monitoring of the health facilities by occupational health and safety officers to ascertain that all the regulations are adhered to (18, 20).

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Reference list

  1. Anon. 2009 Atlanta Georgia Annual Conference. J Environ Health 2009; 71(9):7-12.
  2. Barnett DB. The hospital environmental health specialist: A profile and demand. J Environ Health 1995; 57(6):17-17.
  3. Cook DJ, Montori VM, McMullin JP, Finfer SR, Rocker GM. Improving patients’ safety locally: changing clinician behaviour. The Lancet 2004 Apr 10; 363(9416):1224-30.
  4. Engel-Cox J, Houten BV, Phelps J, Rose SW. Conceptual model of comprehensive research metrics for improved human health and environment. Environ Health Perspect 2008; 116(5):583-92.
  5. Fabian N. The centrality of environmental health to the communities we serve. J Environ Health 2011; 74(2):50-5.
  6. Farrell MK, Drake GJ, Rucker D, Finkelstein M, Zier JL. Creation of a registered nurse-administered nitrous oxide sedation program for radiology and beyond. Pediatr Nurs 2008; 34(1): 29-35; quiz 35-6.
  7. Griffith JR, Alexander JA, Jelinek RC, Foster DA, Mecklenburg GA. Is anybody managing the store? National trends in hospital performance. Journal of Healthcare Management 2006; 51(6):392-405; discussion 405-6.
  8. Hood J, Larrañaga M. Employee health surveillance in the health care industry. Workplace Health & Safety 2007; 55(10):423-31.
  9. Kalis MA. EMAC and environmental health in emergency response. J Environ Health 2007; 69(10):61-2.
  10. Light E. Efficacy of “Green” Cleaning products with respect to common respiratory viruses and mold growth. J Environ Health 2009; 71(9):24-7; quiz 35.
  11. Low-level environmental exposures-more dangerous than you thought? J Environ Health 2006; 68(8):53-53.
  12. Mecklem RL, Neumann CM. Defining and managing biohazardous waste in U.S. research-oriented universities: A survey of environmental health and safety professionals. J Environ Health 2003; 66(1):17-22.
  13. Ruchlin HS, Dubbs NL, Callahan MA, Fosina MJ. The role of leadership in instilling a culture of safety: lessons from the Literature. Journal of Healthcare Management 2004; 49(1):47-58; discussion 58-9.
  14. Savely, SM, Hamilton, WJ, Degani F, Weinberg AD, Muraca PA Survey of environmental safety issues at 20 medical clinics. J Environ Health 2011; 73(6):86-94.
  15. Sibbald B. News @ a glance. Canadian Medical Association Journal 2003 Sep 16; 169(6):598-598.
  16. Slama R, Thiebaugeorges O, Goua V, Aussel L, Sacco P, Bohet A, et al. Maternal personal exposure to airborne benzene and intrauterine growth. Environ Health Perspect 2009; 117(8):1313-21.
  17. Sugiura S, Nakanishi H, Asano M, Hashida T, Tanimura M, Hama T, et al. Multicenter study for environmental and biological monitoring of occupational exposure to cyclophosphamide in Japan. Journal of Oncology Pharmacy Practice 2011; 17(1):20-8.
  18. Teichman R. The (unfortunately) secret field of occupational and environmental medicine. J Community Health 1993; 18(6):323-6.
  19. Tseng C, Li C. Inactivation of surface viruses by gaseous ozone. J Environ Health 2008; 70(10):56-62.
  20. Wong EY, Gohlke J, Griffith WC, Farrow S, Faustman EM. Assessing the health benefits of air pollution reduction for children. Environ Health Perspect 2004; 112(2):226-32.

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