Antimicrobial Stewardship and Infection Prevention and Control in Atopic Dermatitis in Children

Dr Stephane Bouchoucha1, Ms Mataya Kilpatrick2, Associate Professor Ana Hutchinson1

1Deakin University, Burwood, Australia,

2Royal Children Hospital, Melbourne, Australia


Atopic Dermatitis (AD) is a chronic, recurrent inflammatory skin disease. AD prevalence in Australia is increasing with up to 30% of children being affected. Colonisation of lesions by S.aureus is frequent and can be associated with more severe infective exacerbations necessitating topical treatment and increased antibiotic use. One implication of this is the potential for antimicrobial resistance to develop. The study aims were to explore which infection prevention measures registered nurses used, nurses’ knowledge of AD management, understanding of safe antibiotics use and their role in Antimicrobial Stewardship (AMS).


16 nurses were recruited from the dermatology clinic and medical wards of a metropolitan tertiary referral children hospital for a qualitative exploratory descriptive study.


Thematic analysis derived five themes from the data. The nurses interviewed emphasised their role as educator of patients, relatives and staff. Education was perceived as paramount to minimise the risk of infection and to address misconceptions about the need for antibiotics. They emphasised minimising antibiotic use through effective Infection Prevention and Control measures to reduce cross infection. While nurses seemed unfamiliar with the AMS terminology, they were implementing key aspects of AMS.


Nurses’ perceptions of their role emphasised the need to prevent and control infections to reduce antimicrobial use. This is paramount to minimise AMR development in patients that might be exposed to a multitude of antibiotics over their lifetime. Nurses poor knowledge of AMS is concerning as this might reinforce the common misperception that nurses have a limited role in AMS.


Dr Stéphane Bouchoucha has over 20 years’ experience as a clinician, academic and researcher with a focus on critical care, public health, and infection prevention and control. He is a lecturer in the School of Nursing and Midwifery, Deakin University. Stéphane is part of Deakin University’s Centre for Quality and Patient Safety Research (QPS). His research focus is health behaviours, exercise and stress and infection prevention and control, specifically the factors influencing adherence to guidelines. Stéphane supervises masters and doctoral projects in a range of areas including critical care and infection prevention and control.

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