November 18, 2021

Impact of nail brush, duration of surgical hand scrub on bacterial count

By: Judy Mathias
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Editor's Note

This study led by nurse researchers at the University of Health Sciences, Gulhane Training and Research Hospital, Ankara, Turkey finds that nail brushes used during surgical hand scrubs are not necessary, and there is no difference between the effects of 1-minute and 2-minute scrubs on bacterial counts.

The analysis included 180 surgical nurses and surgeons, who were divided into four groups.


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The duration of the surgical hand scrub was 1 minute in Groups I and II, and Group I participants also used a nail brush.

The duration of the surgical hand scrub was 2 minutes in Groups III and IV, and Group III participants used a nail brush.

Bacterial counts were measured on the hands of all participants before and after their surgical hand scrubs and after the surgical procedures.

Bacterial counts on the hands of Group III participants after their surgical hand scrubs that included a nail brush were significantly higher than Group IV.

No statistically significant difference was found between Group II and Group IV in bacterial counts on the hands after the surgical scrub and after the surgical procedure.

The researchers concluded that nail brushing during surgical hand scrubs increases the number of bacteria on the hands, and that 1-minute scrubs were equally effective as 2-minute scrubs in reducing the number of bacteria on the hands.

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