Standard precautions: Nurses’ knowledge and use in a tertiary health institution in Southeast Nigeria

Sussan U. Arinze-Onyia, Edmund O. Ndibuagu and Ignatius I. Ozor

International Research Journal of Medicine and Medical Sciences
Published: April 4 2018
Volume 6, Issue 2
Pages 35-40


The risk for hospital-acquired infections (HAIs) is high among nurses. This study is aimed at assessing nurses’ knowledge and use of standard precautions (SP) in a tertiary health institution in Enugu, southeast Nigeria. The study was descriptive cross-sectional among nurses at University of Nigeria Teaching Hospital, Ituku-Ozalla, Enugu State. A pre-tested questionnaire was used and analysis was done using SPSS version 17. There were 290 respondents, most of them were females (91.7%), married (65.9%) and between the ages of 20 and 59 years. Almost 98% have heard of SP, 77.2% could define it while about 80% knew the indications and could identify most components of SP. Only 43.8% knew about respiratory hygiene. Over 90% agreed that SP is useful in protecting against hospital infections and that employers should provide SP training for their workers. Decontamination of hands was 100% prior to an aseptic procedure and 97.9% before leaving patient’s care area. Gloves were the most commonly used PPE (55.2%) while irregular access was the major reason for non-consistent use of PPEs (64.6%). Over 70% of respondents discard needles without recapping. The nurses who work in the ICU ranked highest in exposure to patients’ serum (100%) and use of PPEs (88.9%). Those who were trained on SP (68.6%) and PPE (69%) were more likely to use PPEs. In conclusion, knowledge and attitude to SP were good but the practice is suboptimal. Regular training and supply of required materials for SP are indicated.

Keywords: Standard precautions, hospital-acquired infections, nurses, Enugu.

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