Hospitals Hire Hand-Washing Coaches Because Staffers Are Fucking Gross


Despite major advances in technology and innovation, infection spreads at modern-day hospitals like dysentery spread on (your last game of) Oregon Trail. Studies have shown that without encouragement, hospital employees only wash their hands about 30 percent of the time they’re interacting with patients. Paging Dr. Doody — oh, wait, he’s already here sticking his feces fingers all up in your business.

Hospitals are looking for solutions to this nasty as hell problem, including using radio-frequency ID chips that note when a doctor has passed by a sink, undercover monitors, and big brother-style hidden camera recording. And that’s just the beginning — they’re bribing employees in the same way you might coax a small child, by using prizes like pizza to entice medical professionals to not be dis-fucking-gusting.

Oh, and they’re hiring hand washing coaches. Yes — hand washing coaches. That is a person who is paid to teach you how to wash your hands, and it’s the world’s best and also saddest job.

Everyone is befuddled as to why this is such a problem for people who really should know a lot fucking better:

Among the explanations studies have offered are complaints about dry skin, the pressures of an emergency environment, the tedium of hand washing and resistance to authority (doctors, who have the most authority, tend to be the most resistant, studies have found).

Dude, you so know that dick House has never touched a soap dispenser.

Because this is so difficult, I’ve put together a handy dandy hand washing guide. Feel free to print it out and give it to the doctor performing your open heart surgery so that you don’t die from her fecal fingers.

1. Turn on the sink faucet. Make sure water is running out. If anything other than water is running out, call the proper authorities (e.g., your public utilities provider, CDC, Ghost Busters, etc.)
2. Wet your hands with the water (from the faucet, not the toilet).
3. Take some soap (you can get it in most/all drug stores, ask a sales associate if you have trouble identifying it) and rub that soap vigorously between your hands (not between your buttcheeks, or anywhere else). Do this for 20 seconds. Need a timer? Hum the “Happy Birthday” song from beginning to end twice. You can sing it out loud if you’re Patch Adams.
4. Reach into your pocket, pull out your wallet, and give me $500 for today’s hand washing coaching.
5. Repeat steps 1-4 because 90 percent of U.S. dollars have been up someone’s ass.

I hope that’s helpful!

It turns out that other than being incredibly clear with everyone about hand washing protocol, the only thing that really gets doctors and nurses to not be the grossest is to film them.

North Shore’s study, published in the journal Clinical Infectious Diseases, found that during a 16-week preliminary period when workers were being filmed but were not informed of the results, hand-hygiene rates were less than 10 percent. When they started getting reports on their filmed behavior, through electronic scoreboards and e-mails, the rates rose to 88 percent. The hospital kept the system, but because of the expense, it has limited it to the intensive care unit, where the payoff is greatest because the patients are sickest.

Who here is incredibly depressed and fearful for humanity? Raises (freshly-washed! I swear!) hand.

[New York Times]

Shutterstock/Tyler Olson

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