Healthcare worker personal protective equipment (PPE) training programs in Australia and New Zealand hospitals – a survey

Mrs Ruth Barratt1,2, Professor  Lyn Gilbert1,2,3, Professor Ramon Shaban2,4,5

1Westmead Clinical School, Faculty of Medicine and Health, University of Sydney, Westmead, Australia,
2Marie Bashir Institute for Infectious Diseases & Biosecurity, Westmead Institute for Infectious Diseases, Westmead, Australia,
3Sydney Health Ethics, Faculty of Medicine and Health, University of Sydney, Sydney, Australia,
4Susan Wakil School of Nursing and Midwifery, Faculty of Medicine and Health, University of Sydney, Sydney, Australia,
5Nursing, Midwifery and Clinical Governance Directorate, Western Sydney Local Health District , Westmead, Australia


The use of personal protective equipment (PPE) is a key component of standard and transmission-based infection prevention and control (IPC) precautions. The current Ebolavirus disease outbreak in West Africa, should remind us of the 2014-16 outbreaks, which identified major concern, and deficiencies in knowledge, understanding and use of routine and high-level PPE, amongst healthcare workers. Sub-optimal use of PPE has contributed to hospital outbreaks of other emerging infectious diseases, including MERS. Education, training and monitoring of practice are essential enablers of optimal PPE use. However, little is known about PPE training programmes in Australasia. This research will assess and document the nature of PPE training in hospitals across Australia and New Zealand.


Using survey research methods, members of professional organisations for IPC practitioners will be invited to complete an on-line questionnaire about their facility’s PPE training and auditing programme. Invitations to participate in the research will be distributed electronically to members through these organisations. Respondents who indicate that their facility has a training programme for high-level PPE will be invited to participate in a follow up survey and/or interview.


The results of the survey, to be conducted in August 2019, will be presented together with an analysis of the current international literature, including national high-level PPE programmes in the UK.


The study findings will help to inform further stakeholder consultation about any proposed national standards for PPE training and auditing within Australasian healthcare facilities and augment national recommendations that can benefit all IPC programmes.


Ruth is an experienced infection prevention and control nurse and has an interest in planning for infectious disease pandemics, with previous membership of New Zealand national committees for pandemic H1N1 Influenza and Ebolavirus disease. She is currently studying for her PhD as part of the APPRISE Centre of Research Excellence.

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