Asymptomatic bacteriuria is common in patients with urinary catheters. Current clinicalguidelines advise against dipstick testing or treating urine culture results in asymptomatic catheterised patients which can promote the development of antimicrobial resistance and present an unnecessary risk to patients. This study aimed to assess the knowledge of nurses and healthcare assistants (HCAs) on the diagnosis of urinary tract infections (UTIs) in patients with urinary catheters.


This study employed a cross sectional survey of opportunistically sampled nursing staff and healthcare assistants working at Northwick Park Hospital in May 2018. Results were analysed descriptively.


134 participants were included in the final analysis of whom 90% (N=120) were nurses and 10% (N=14) were HCAs. The majority of staff (38.6%, N=51) worked in a medical speciality and had over 15 years of work experience (45.3%, N=58). 79 participants (66%) believed that a positive dipstick result was diagnostic of a catheter associated urinary tract infection (CAUTI). A positive dipstick result was the most frequently selected indication (91% of respondents, N=108) for sending urine for culture in a catheterised patient, and was also the most frequently selected reason for sending urine for culture across staff of all years of experience and all specialities.


There is a need to improve the level of knowledge of nursing and HCA staff on the diagnosis of CAUTIs including misconceptions on the diagnostic value of dipstick testing in catheterised patients. The findings of this research will inform a quality improvement project to address these gaps in knowledge.

  • This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License.

Article metrics loading...

Loading full text...

Full text loading...


Most cited this month Most Cited RSS feed

This is a required field
Please enter a valid email address
Approval was a Success
Invalid data
An Error Occurred
Approval was partially successful, following selected items could not be processed due to error