Junior doctors' perceptions of the problem of bacterial resistance in hospitals

Abstract number: P1280

Pulcini C., Williams F., Davey P., Nathwani D.

Objectives: The aim of this study was to assess how the problem of bacterial resistance was perceived by the junior doctors.

Methods: We surveyed 63 junior doctors in their first year of postgraduate training at one university teaching hospital in Dundee (Scotland, UK) to assess their attitudes about the importance of antibiotic resistance, knowledge of its prevalence, beliefs about its causes and attitudes about interventions designed to address the problem.

Results: The response rate was 70% (63 of 90 doctors). Thirty-five (56%) junior doctors were training in a medical speciality and 24 (38%) in a surgical one. Sixty-two (98%) of them had prescribed an antibiotic within the past 6 months. Antibiotic resistance was perceived as a national problem by 92% of the respondents, but only 52% rated the problem as important in their own daily practice. Only 22% of the junior doctors had a correct idea of the prevalence of MRSA in UK hospitals. Nearly all doctors (94%) believed that widespread and inappropriate antibiotic use, or prescription of broad spectrum antibiotics were important causes of resistance. Excessive durations of antibiotic treatments were rated as an important cause of resistance by 80% of the doctors, but only 51% recognised too low antibiotic doses as a potential cause of bacterial resistance. Finally, only 45% of the doctors identified poor hand hygiene practices as an important driver for resistance. More than 90% of the junior doctors rated the following measures as helpful to improve antibiotic prescribing: educational sessions, availability of guidelines and readily accessible advice from a microbiologist/an Infectious Diseases specialist/a pharmacist/or a colleague. Regular audit and feedback of the antibiotic prescribing practices on the ward was found helpful by 82% of the doctors and availability of resistance data was rated useful by 77% of them. Restrictive measures were not as popular, with 66% of the junior doctors rating restriction of some antibiotics useful, and 13% finding the restriction of all antibiotics potentially helpful.

Conclusion: Although most junior doctors view antibiotic resistance as a serious national problem, perceptions about its local importance, its causes, and possible solutions vary more widely and are not always evidence-based. These perceptions must be taken into account to maximise adherence of the junior doctors to the measures aiming at curbing bacterial resistance.

Session Details

Date: 19/04/2008
Time: 00:00-00:00
Session name: 18th European Congress of Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases
Location: Barcelona, Spain
Presentation type:
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