Table of Contents Author Guidelines Submit a Manuscript
Infectious Diseases in Obstetrics and Gynecology
Volume 6, Issue 3, Pages 123-128
Research Article

Compliance With Universal Precautions: Knowledge and Behavior of Residents and Students in a Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology

1University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston, Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Sciences, Lyndon Baines Johnson Hospital, Houston, TX, USA
2University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston, School of Public Health, Houston, TX, USA
3Department of OB–GYN–Pensacola, University of Florida College of Medicine, 5045 Carpenter Creek, Pensacola, FL 32513, USA

Received 19 August 1997; Accepted 14 May 1998

Copyright © 1998 Hindawi Publishing Corporation. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Objectives: To assess the knowledge of universal precautions for the delivery and operating rooms by residents and students and to evaluate their use of universal precautions.

Study Design: Obstetrics and gynecology (ob/gyn) residents (n = 30) and students (n = 31) from an inner-city, teaching hospital were polled by anonymous questionnaire to assess their knowledge of the appropriate barrier equipment for certain ob/gyn procedures. To determine actual compliance with universal precautions, 459 0b/gyn procedures were observed. We noted the use of appropriate barrier equipment for each procedure: gloves for pelvic exam and face shields, gowns, gloves, and booties for vaginal delivery, cesarean delivery, and dilation and curettage. The True Epistat statistical software program was used to perform simple regression analysis.

Results: Thirty residents (100%) knew the appropriate barrier equipment required for each type of procedure performed. One student (<1%) did not know that booties were appropriate for the surgical procedures. Rationale for lack of compliance with universal precautions elicited by the questionnaire included time constraints (64%), inconvenience (52%), and presumption that patient was not infected (34%).

The observed rate of compliance with universal precautions by participants indicates that individual compliance was inversely related to the years of experience (overall compliance rate of students was 96%; for first-year residents, 92%, second-year residents, 89%, third-year residents, 84%, fourth-year residents, 78%; r = -0.9918, P = 0.0009).

Conclusions: Knowledge regarding universal precautions was nearly 100%, while overall observed compliance was only 89%. Compliance with universal precautions was better among students (96%) than among residents (88%). Compliance with universal precautions was inversely related to years of experience.