Availability and Use of Protective Equipment Among Health Care Workers in Muhammad Abdullahi Wase Teaching Hospital Kano
Objectives of the Study
The specific objectives of this study include to:
- Investigate the historical availability of protective equipment in Muhammad Abdullahi Wase Teaching Hospital, Kano.
- Protective utilization patterns of protective equipment among healthcare workers in the hospital.
- Examine the impact of training programs on the proper use of protective equipment by healthcare workers in the hospital.
Protective Equipment in Healthcare Settings
The realm of healthcare is marked by its commitment to the well-being of both patients and healthcare workers (Chakraborty & Maity, 2020; Humayun et al., 2021). Essential to ensuring the safety of healthcare workers is the utilization of protective equipment, a term encompassing various gear designed to shield individuals from potential hazards in the healthcare environment (CDC, 2022). This category includes personal protective equipment (PPE) such as masks, gloves, gowns, and face shields, each serving a unique purpose in mitigating occupational risks (Chakraborty & Maity, 2020; MacIntyre et al., 2021).
The definition of protective equipment in healthcare settings extends beyond a mere set of tools. It encompasses a range of specialized clothing and equipment designed to protect healthcare workers from infectious agents, chemical hazards, and other potential dangers in their work environment (CDC, 2022). For instance, face masks act as barriers against respiratory droplets, while gloves prevent direct contact with bodily fluids. Gowns provide additional protection for skin and clothing, and face shields safeguard against splashes or sprays of hazardous substances (Chakraborty & Maity, 2020; CDC, 2022). Understanding the nuances of these definitions is crucial for establishing a comprehensive understanding of the protective measures in place for healthcare workers.
The types of protective equipment utilized in healthcare settings are diverse and cater to specific occupational risks. In the context of Muhammad Abdullahi Wase Teaching Hospital, healthcare workers are likely to encounter various types of PPE tailored to the nature of their tasks and potential exposure. The availability and utilization of masks, for instance, are pertinent not only for infectious diseases but also for protection against airborne particles and respiratory hazards (Chakraborty & Maity, 2020; MacIntyre et al., 2021). Gloves, another essential type of PPE, are crucial for preventing contact with blood and other bodily fluids during medical procedures (CDC, 2022).
The importance of protective equipment for healthcare workers cannot be overstated. In the dynamic and often unpredictable healthcare environment, the use of PPE serves as a fundamental line of defence against occupational hazards (Chakraborty & Maity, 2020; Humayun et al., 2021). The significance of this protective gear is magnified during infectious disease outbreaks, emphasizing its role in preventing the transmission of pathogens and safeguarding the health and well-being of both healthcare workers and patients (MacIntyre et al., 2021; CDC, 2022).
Healthcare workers face a myriad of occupational risks daily, ranging from exposure to infectious agents to the potential for chemical hazards. In this context, the proper utilization of protective equipment is not just a recommended practice; it is a necessity (CDC, 2022). By wearing the appropriate PPE, healthcare workers create a barrier between themselves and potential sources of harm, ensuring their safety while maintaining the highest standards of patient care (Chakraborty & Maity, 2020; Humayun et al., 2021).
Occupational Safety and Health in Healthcare Institutions
Occupational safety and health (OSH) within healthcare institutions are integral components that ensure the well-being of healthcare workers and maintain the highest standards of patient care (Chakraborty & Maity, 2020; Humayun et al., 2021). Examining the historical perspective of OSH in healthcare institutions provides insights into the evolution of safety measures, reflecting the evolving understanding of occupational risks and the development of protective strategies (Morens et al., 2020).
The examination of the availability and utilization of protective equipment among healthcare workers at Muhammad Abdullahi Wase Teaching Hospital was carried out through the implementation of a quantitative survey research design. The rationale behind opting for a survey approach stems from its effectiveness in collecting a substantial volume of data from a diverse and sizable population. Saunders, Lewis, and Thornhill (2019) underscore the appropriateness of a survey design for investigating patterns, attitudes, and opinions within a defined population, aligning seamlessly with the specific objectives of this study.
The utilization of a quantitative survey design allows for the systematic collection of data on the prevalence and effectiveness of protective equipment usage among healthcare workers. This methodological choice is consistent with the principles outlined in the foundational work of Saunders, Lewis, and Thornhill (2019), emphasizing the survey’s suitability for capturing a wide range of responses from a targeted population. The efficiency of the survey design in this context is crucial for obtaining a comprehensive understanding of healthcare workers’ perspectives on protective equipment, thereby contributing valuable insights to the broader discourse on occupational safety in healthcare settings.
By employing a quantitative survey research design, this study ensures the generation of statistically significant data that can be rigorously analyzed using appropriate statistical techniques. This approach aligns with the recommendations of Saunders, Lewis, and Thornhill (2019), providing a robust framework for investigating patterns and attitudes related to protective equipment availability and use among healthcare workers. The chosen design facilitates the systematic exploration of these crucial aspects, contributing to a nuanced understanding of the factors influencing the effectiveness of protective measures in a healthcare setting.
The research was executed at Muhammad Abdullahi Wase Teaching Hospital, situated in Kano, Nigeria. This hospital holds substantial significance as a healthcare institution, catering to a large and diverse population. The choice of this particular setting was deliberate, driven by the need to scrutinize the availability and utilization of protective equipment among healthcare workers within a context that reflects the complexities of a sizeable healthcare facility. The geographical location and specific characteristics of the hospital were pivotal considerations, ensuring that the study’s findings would be relevant and applicable to the broader healthcare landscape.
The unique characteristics of Muhammad Abdullahi Wase Teaching Hospital, including its scale, patient demographics, and regional peculiarities, contribute to the study’s ability to generate insights that may have broader implications for healthcare institutions facing similar challenges. As emphasized by Anderson, Fontinha, and Robson (2020) and Bell et al. (2022), the contextual relevance of the research setting is crucial for the generalizability of findings and their potential applicability to diverse healthcare scenarios. In this case, the focus on Muhammad Abdullahi Wase Teaching Hospital ensures that the study captures the nuances of protective equipment availability and use within a substantial healthcare facility, enriching the understanding of these dynamics in real-world, high-impact settings.
Population of the Study
The focal group for this study encompassed healthcare workers actively engaged at Muhammad Abdullahi Wase Teaching Hospital in Kano, Nigeria. Deliberately chosen for their direct involvement in patient care, a total of 171 respondents were identified as the optimal sample size for inclusion in the study. The rationale behind selecting this specific target population is rooted in the hospital’s pivotal role as a prominent healthcare institution, rendering the insights of its healthcare workers essential for understanding the dynamics of protective equipment availability and utilization within the broader context of healthcare provision.
The chosen sample size of 171 healthcare workers is considered sufficient to yield a comprehensive and representative overview of the perspectives held by those on the frontline of healthcare delivery. As highlighted by Anderson, Fontinha, and Robson (2020), thoughtful consideration of sample size is imperative to ensure the reliability and validity of study findings. In this instance, the selected sample size not only aligns with the principles of statistical rigour but also reflects the diversity and dynamics of the healthcare workforce at Muhammad Abdullahi Wase Teaching Hospital. Thus, the targeted population and sample size together contribute to the study’s ability to capture a nuanced understanding of healthcare workers’ viewpoints regarding the availability and utilization of protective equipment.
DISCUSSION OF FINDINGS
Summary of Findings
The study investigating the availability and utilization of protective equipment among healthcare workers at Muhammad Abdullahi Wase Teaching Hospital in Kano presented compelling insights into several crucial facets. Among the demographic information, the data revealed that the majority of respondents were within the age range of 25 to 44 years, predominantly female, holding either a bachelor’s or master’s degree and with a significant number possessing over a decade of experience in healthcare. These demographics portray a diverse yet experienced workforce, potentially impacting their perspectives on protective equipment and safety measures.
Regarding the availability of protective gear, respondents largely agreed on the equipment’s availability, stock levels, and timely replenishment. This positivity was echoed in their responses about accessibility to various types of protective gear. However, despite this overall positive sentiment, a notable percentage expressed uncertainty or disagreement, signifying potential gaps in certain areas of equipment availability and accessibility.
The findings about the utilization of protective equipment were predominantly affirmative. Respondents generally agreed on their consistent use during patient care, adherence to safety guidelines, and compliance with recommended practices. However, a proportion also expressed uncertainty or disagreement, suggesting a need for further investigation into the root causes behind these varying perceptions.
The impact of training programs on healthcare workers’ knowledge, skills, and consistent utilization of protective equipment was a highlight of the study. Responses indicated strong agreement regarding the effectiveness of training initiatives in enhancing knowledge, improving skills, and promoting consistent utilization. This collective positive perception underscores the pivotal role of training programs in fostering a safer and more informed work environment for healthcare workers.
The correlations between historical trends in equipment availability, overall safety, and confidence levels were significant. The results indicated a noteworthy association between these variables, highlighting the importance of consistent and sufficient availability of protective equipment in shaping healthcare workers’ perceptions of safety and confidence levels while handling infectious cases.
Moreover, the study revealed that proper utilization of protective equipment among healthcare workers was positively influenced by effective training programs. This finding reaffirms the critical role of training initiatives in promoting proper utilization practices, aligning with previous empirical studies emphasizing the impact of training on improving healthcare workers’ knowledge, skills, and overall safety.
The overall findings suggest a predominantly positive perception among healthcare workers regarding the availability, utilization, and impact of training programs concerning protective equipment. However, the presence of uncertainties or disagreements in certain areas underscores the need for continued efforts to ensure consistent availability, utilization, and effectiveness of protective gear.
These findings not only shed light on the perspectives and practices of healthcare workers but also provide valuable insights for hospital management and policymakers. Addressing the areas of uncertainty or disagreement identified in the study could aid in targeted interventions, resource allocation, and policy formulation to enhance the overall occupational safety and well-being of healthcare workers.
In conclusion, the findings of this study underscore the intricate interplay between the availability, and utilization of protective equipment, and various influencing factors among healthcare workers at Muhammad Abdullahi Wase Teaching Hospital in Kano. The results refute the null hypotheses tested, revealing significant correlations and associations that contribute to a nuanced understanding of occupational safety in healthcare settings.
The first hypothesis, rejecting the idea of no significant correlation between historical trends in equipment availability and overall safety, suggests that the availability of protective equipment has a discernible impact on healthcare workers’ perceptions of safety. This aligns with previous empirical studies emphasizing the crucial role of equipment availability in fostering a secure working environment.
The second hypothesis, dismissing the notion that effective training programs do not positively influence the proper utilization of protective equipment, highlights the instrumental role of training initiatives in shaping healthcare workers’ behaviours. This supports the broader consensus in the literature on the efficacy of training programs in enhancing knowledge, skills, and adherence to safety guidelines.
The third hypothesis, rejecting the idea of no significant association between the availability of protective equipment and the confidence levels of healthcare workers, emphasizes the psychological aspect of occupational safety. The study suggests that a consistent and sufficient supply of protective gear may contribute to heightened confidence levels among healthcare workers, thereby positively influencing their overall safety perceptions.
In essence, these conclusive findings underscore the intricate dynamics within healthcare settings and emphasize the multifaceted strategies needed to ensure optimal occupational safety. Hospital management and policymakers can leverage these insights to tailor interventions, allocate resources judiciously, and formulate policies that address the specific needs and concerns identified by healthcare workers, ultimately fostering a safer and more resilient healthcare environment.
Based on the findings of this study, the following recommendations were proposed:
Continuous Monitoring and Improvement of Equipment Availability: Regularly assess the availability of protective equipment in healthcare settings. Establish robust monitoring mechanisms to promptly identify shortages or potential lapses in the supply chain. Implement a responsive system that ensures the consistent availability of necessary protective gear to safeguard healthcare workers.
Enhanced Training Programs: Strengthen training programs for healthcare workers on the proper utilization of protective equipment. Integrate hands-on, scenario-based training sessions to simulate real-world situations, fostering practical skills and confidence. Periodically update training modules to align with evolving best practices and emerging infectious threats.
Tailored Support for Different Roles: Recognize the diverse roles within healthcare institutions and tailor support mechanisms accordingly. Differentiate training content and equipment provisions based on specific job functions to address the unique needs and challenges faced by doctors, nurses, and support staff.
Investment in Research and Development: Allocate resources for ongoing research and development initiatives focused on improving protective equipment. Encourage collaborations between healthcare institutions and research entities to explore innovative materials, designs, and technologies that enhance the effectiveness and comfort of protective gear.
Psychological Support Programs: Implement psychological support programs to address the mental health and confidence levels of healthcare workers. Recognize the psychological toll of working in high-risk environments and provide counselling services, peer support networks, and resources to manage stress and anxiety.
Strategic Resource Allocation: Utilize study findings to inform resource allocation strategies. Allocate budgets and resources based on identified priorities, ensuring that healthcare institutions have the necessary financial backing to maintain consistent stock levels, timely replenishment, and accessibility of protective equipment.
Collaboration with Manufacturers and Suppliers: Foster strong partnerships with protective equipment manufacturers and suppliers. Engage in proactive communication to anticipate demand, streamline procurement processes, and establish contingency plans for rapid responses during unforeseen circumstances, such as pandemics or supply chain disruptions.
Periodic Review of Occupational Safety Policies: Conduct regular reviews of occupational safety policies in healthcare institutions. Ensure that policies align with the latest research, industry standards, and emerging threats. Solicit feedback from healthcare workers to incorporate their experiences and insights into policy revisions, fostering a collaborative and adaptive approach to occupational safety.
Contribution to Knowledge
This study significantly contributes to the existing body of knowledge by offering valuable insights into the complex dynamics surrounding the availability and utilization of protective equipment in healthcare settings, with a specific focus on Muhammad Abdullahi Wase Teaching Hospital in Kano. The comprehensive analysis of historical trends, current practices, and the impact of training programs provides a nuanced understanding of the challenges faced by healthcare workers in ensuring their safety and the safety of patients. By examining the correlation between equipment availability, utilization, and various demographic factors, the study not only addresses the immediate concerns of the hospital under investigation but also establishes a foundation for broader implications in healthcare institutions worldwide.
Moreover, the findings of this study contribute to the ongoing discourse on occupational safety by bridging empirical evidence with theoretical frameworks. The incorporation of theories such as the Health Belief Model, Social Cognitive Theory, and Hierarchy of Controls enhances the conceptual understanding of factors influencing healthcare workers’ perception, behaviour, and decision-making related to protective equipment. This theoretical underpinning not only guides the interpretation of the study’s findings but also offers a theoretical framework that can be adapted and expanded upon in future research endeavours.
Furthermore, the study adds value to the field by providing practical recommendations grounded in empirical evidence. These recommendations address critical aspects such as continuous monitoring, tailored training programs, psychological support, and collaboration with manufacturers. As healthcare systems globally grapple with the challenges of protecting frontline workers, these actionable insights contribute to the development of evidence-based strategies that can be adopted by hospital management, policymakers, and public health agencies.
Limitations of the Study
Despite the comprehensive nature of this study, it is crucial to acknowledge several limitations that may impact the interpretation and generalizability of the findings. Firstly, the research is confined to a specific healthcare institution, Muhammad Abdullahi Wase Teaching Hospital in Kano, which may limit the external validity of the results. The unique organizational culture, resources, and policies of this hospital may not be entirely representative of other healthcare settings, making it essential to exercise caution when extrapolating the findings to a broader context.
Secondly, the reliance on self-reported data through survey instruments introduces the possibility of response bias. Healthcare workers may provide socially desirable responses, leading to an overestimation of adherence to safety guidelines and the effectiveness of training programs. This potential bias could impact the accuracy of the conclusions drawn from the data, emphasizing the need for caution in interpreting the reported levels of equipment availability, utilization, and associated factors.
Moreover, the cross-sectional design of the study captures a snapshot of protective equipment dynamics at a specific point in time. This design limitation prevents the establishment of causal relationships and understanding changes over time. Longitudinal studies tracking healthcare workers’ experiences and perceptions over an extended period would offer a more dynamic and nuanced understanding of the factors influencing protective equipment availability and utilization.
Suggestions for Further Studies
The findings of this study open avenues for further research that can deepen our understanding of the dynamics surrounding protective equipment in healthcare settings. First and foremost, future studies should consider expanding the geographical scope beyond a single healthcare institution. Comparative analyses across multiple hospitals, both within and beyond the region, would enhance the generalizability of findings and provide a more comprehensive view of protective equipment availability and utilization.
Additionally, qualitative investigations could delve into the intricate nuances of healthcare workers’ experiences, perceptions, and attitudes toward protective equipment. In-depth interviews or focus group discussions could capture narratives that quantitative surveys might miss, offering a more nuanced exploration of the psychosocial factors influencing adherence to safety guidelines and the utilization of protective gear.
Furthermore, longitudinal studies are imperative to capture the dynamics and changes in protective equipment practices over time. Understanding the temporal aspects of availability, utilization patterns, and the impact of training programs would provide a more nuanced picture and facilitate the development of targeted interventions.
Research that explores innovative interventions or strategies to improve protective equipment utilization and safety compliance among healthcare workers is also warranted. Evaluating the effectiveness of specific training programs, interventions, or policy changes could contribute valuable insights for healthcare administrators and policymakers seeking evidence-based strategies to enhance occupational safety in healthcare settings.
- Aguwa, E. N., Arinze-Onyia, S. U., & Ndu, A. (2016). Use of personal protective equipment among health workers in a tertiary health institution, South East Nigeria: Pre-Ebola Period. International Journal of Health Sciences Research, 6(8), 12–18.
- Anderson, V., Fontinha, R., & Robson, F. (2020). Research Methods in Human Resource Management: Investigating a Business Issue (4th Ed.). London: CIPD. Chapter 5: Planning the research process.
- Beiske, B. (2017). Research Methods: Uses and Limitations of questionnaires, interviews and case studies. GRIN Verlag.
- Bell, E., Bryman, A., & Harley, B. (2019). Business Research Methods (5th Ed.). Oxford: Oxford University Press.
- Centres for Disease Control and Prevention. (2022). Infection control guidance for healthcare professionals about Coronavirus (COVID-19). Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/hcp/infection-control.html.
- Chakraborty, I., & Maity, P. (2020). COVID-19 outbreak: Migration, effects on society, global environment and prevention. Science of The Total Environment, 728(138882). https://doi.org/10.1016/j.scitotenv.2020.138882.
- Charmaz, K. (2016). Constructing Grounded Theory: A Practical Guide through Qualitative Analysis. London: Sage Publications.