• As part of a study of community nurses' perceptions of quality in nursing care, the author conducted in-depth qualitative interviews with seven community-based nurses.
• As part of the study, nurses were asked to describe episodes of wound care and to discuss the factors which could affect the quality of such care.
• One of the most interesting themes to emerge from the data was the apparent ambivalence of the nurses' attitudes towards infection control in wound care.
• Nurses discussed the concept of 'aseptic technique' in fatalistic terms and seemed uncertain about what could be achieved in terms of infection control.
• Although their policy guidelines referred to 'aseptic technique', their educational experience appeared to have made them feel uncertain about the implementation of the measures involved.
• With the proviso that this was a small scale qualitative study, the author concludes by suggesting that there is a need for greater clarity, both in what is taught and in what is included in practice policy with regard to infection control in wound care.