Aim: The aim of the present study is to compare the attitudes of nursing students and nurses working in maternity wards towards late abortions performed after the 16th week of pregnancy and to identify the factors influencing their attitudes.
Methods: A quantitative design was employed in this descriptive study, using two convenience samples: 100 nurses working in the maternity ward of a large hospital and 100 nursing students from a nursing school in Israel. The self-report questionnaire was specially designed for purposes of this study.
Findings: Results showed that the nurses had less prejudicial attitudes towards late abortions than the nursing students. Overall, the participants had a more positive attitude towards late abortions in the following cases: (1) risk of malformation or developmental disability, (2) pregnancy as a result of rape, and (3) danger to the life of the mother. There was a weak negative connection between the participants' number of children and their attitudes towards late abortions. In addition, there was a significant relationship found between the level of religious observance and attitudes towards late abortions, as negative attitudes increased with higher religious observance. Indeed, the level of religious observance was found to be the most significant predictor of the participants' attitudes towards late abortions.
Conclusion: Differences in attitudes were found between nursing students and nurses providing care to patients undergoing late abortions. Their personal religious beliefs, as well as the reason for the abortion, were found to be influential in determining their attitudes.
© 2010 The Authors. International Nursing Review © 2010 International Council of Nurses.