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Nurses may acquire an infection during the provision of nursing care because of occupational exposure to microorganisms. Relevant literature reports that compliance with standard precautions (a set of guidelines that can protect healthcare professionals from being exposed to infectious pathogens) is low among nurses. Additionally, high rates of exposure to microorganisms among nurses via several modes (needlesticks, hand contamination with blood, exposure to air-transmitted microorganisms) occur.
Georgios Efstathiou, RN, a PhD student in the Department of Nursing at the School of Health Science at Cyprus University of Technology in Limassol, Cyprus, and colleagues, sought to study the factors that influence nurses' compliance with Standard Precaution in order to avoid occupational exposure to pathogens, by employing a qualitative research design. Their research was published in BMC Nursing.
A focus group approach was used to explore the issue under study. Four focus groups (N=30) were organised to elicit nurses' perception of the factors that influence their compliance with standard precautions. The Health Belief Model (HBM) was used as the theoretical framework and the data were analysed according to predetermined criteria.
Following content analysis, factors that influence nurses' compliance emerged. Most factors could be applied to one of the main domains of the HBM: benefits, barriers, severity, susceptibility, cues to action, and self-efficacy.
The researchers say that changing current behavior requires knowledge of the factors that may influence nurses' compliance with standard precautions. This knowledge will facilitate in the implementation of programs and preventive actions that contribute in avoiding of occupational exposure.
Reference: Efstathiou G, Papastavrou E, Raftopoulos V and Merkouris A. Factors influencing nurses' compliance with Standard Precautions in order to avoid occupational exposure to microorganisms: A focus group study. BMC Nursing 2011, 10:1doi:10.1186/1472-6955-10-1.