An nvestigation into the knowledge and compliance with standard precautions amongst nurses in Tygerberg Hospital in the Western Cape
Duminy, Joanneil Merl
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Everyday thousands of nurses are rendering bedside nursing care in health care settings as a result they are exposed to blood, body fluids and sharp objects that are contaminated with Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C and HIV. Therefore they are at risk of getting infected. In 1996, standard precautions were implemented by the Centre of Disease Control to reduce the risk of transmission of micro-organisms from any source of infection in the hospital. In the year 2008, the three tertiary hospitals together in the Western Cape reported that they had 733 needle prick injuries. Therefore the aim of the study was to determine if nurses comply with and have adequate knowledge of standard precautions. A non-experimental design and a self administered questionnaire were used to collect the data for the study. The study was done at Tygerberg Hospital and the participants (n=143) that were involved in the study were all nursing categories (professional, enrolled nurse and auxiliary nurse). Stratified random sampling was used to ensure that there was a representation of all the nurses working in the different modules at Tygerberg Hospital. Therefore three wards were randomly selected from each module and all the nurses on duty working in the three selected wards were given a questionnaire by the Assistant Director of the specific module. After the data was collected it was analysed through the statistical package for social sciences. The findings of the study showed that nurses have inadequate knowledge regarding standard precautions and the mean score of the nurses overall self reported compliance of standard precautions was 87.5%. The results also showed that when patients are HIV positive nurses intend to over comply the use of personal protective equipment. No association was found between the nurses knowledge and compliance regarding standard precautions. It is therefore important that every nurse should be educated about the basic principles of standard precautions and also the policies and protocols of infection control in order to prevent each nurse from getting infected. Training needs to be implemented starting in the wards through the unit manager to improve all the nurses knowledge and practice.