Background: Staphylococcus aureus (S. aureus) carriage is a risk factor for nosocomial infections in patients and healthcare workers and may include nursing students undergoing clinical experience. Aim: To investigate a group of nursing students undergoing their first clinical posting for S. aureus carriage in the nose and/or throat; determine the antibiotic resistant patterns of individual S. aureus isolate as well as screen the participants for methicillin resistant S. aureus (MRSA).
Methods: Nose and throat swab samples from 17 first year diploma students of nursing, four male with a mean age of 21 years and thirteen female with a mean age of 19.3 years who were undergoing their first clinical posting were investigated. Pre- and post- a four weeks clinical experience at a tertiary level hospital swab samples were processed by standard methods for the isolation, identification and antibiotic susceptibility testing of S. aureus including MRSA.
Findings: S. aureus was isolated from both nose and throat of four of the students; four for each of nose and throat in the pre-clinical experience samples. In post clinical experience sampling, four students had S. aureus in their nose and throat and four and six from nose and throat respectively. No MRSA was isolated from any of the samples. Several of the students’ post clinical experience S. aureus isolates show higher antibiotic resistance.
Conclusion: Nursing students on clinical posting most likely to be at an increased risk of S. aureus carriage and antibiotic resistance.