BACKGROUND: Up to 6000 patients per year in England acquire a central venous catheter (CVC)-related bloodstream infection (Shapey et al. 2008 ). Implementation of Department of Health guidelines through educational interventions has resulted in significant and sustained reductions in CVC-related blood stream infections (Pronovost et al. 2002), and cost (Hu et al. 2004 ). AIM: This review aimed to determine the features of structured educational interventions that impact on competence in aseptic insertion technique and maintenance of CV catheters by healthcare workers. METHODS: We looked at changes in infection control behaviour of healthcare workers, and considered changes in service delivery and the clinical welfare of patients involved, provided they were related directly to the delivery method of the educational intervention. RESULTS: A total of 9968 articles were reviewed, of which 47 articles met the inclusion criteria. CONCLUSIONS: Findings suggest implications for practice: First, educational interventions appear to have the most prolonged and profound effect when used in conjunction with audit, feedback, and availability of new clinical supplies consistent with the content of the education provided. Second, educational interventions will have a greater impact if baseline compliance to best practice is low. Third, repeated sessions, fed into daily practice, using practical participation appear to have a small, additional effect on practice change when compared to education alone. Active involvement from healthcare staff, in conjunction with the provision of formal responsibilities and motivation for change, may change healthcare worker practice.