Australian Graduating Nurses’ Knowledge, Intentions and Beliefs on Infection Prevention and Control: A Cross-Sectional Study

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Used by permission: BioMed Central and the authors.


Background: In recent year, national bodies have been actively addressing the increasing concern on the spread of healthcare-associated infections (HAIs). The current study measures the knowledge, intentions and beliefs of third-year Australian nursing students on key infection prevention and control (IPC) concepts.

Methods: A cross-sectional study of final-year undergraduate nursing students from Schools of Nursing at six Australian universities was undertaken. Students were asked to participate in an anonymous survey. The survey explored knowledge of standard precautions and transmission based precautions. In addition intentions and beliefs towards IPC were explored.

Results: 349 students from six universities completed the study. 59.8% (95% CI 58.8–60.8%) of questions were answered correctly. Significantly more standard precaution questions were correctly answered than transmission-based precaution questions (p < 0.001). No association was found between self-reported compliance with IPC activities and gender or age. Certain infection control issues were correlated with the percentage of correctly answered transmission-based precaution questions. The participants were most likely to seek infection control information from an infection control professional.

Conclusion: Knowledge on transmission-based precautions was substandard. As transmission-based precautions are the foundation of IPC for serious organisms and infections, education institutions should reflect on the content and style of educational delivery on this topic.

nurse, infection control, student, knowledge, standard precautions, university

Mitchell, B. G., Say, R., Wells, A., Wilson, F., Cloete, L., & Matheson, L. (2014). Australian graduating nurses’ knowledge, intentions and beliefs on infection prevention and control: A cross-sectional study. BMC Nursing, 13, 43. doi:10.1186/s12912-014-0043-9

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