Background and objective: Standard Precautions (SP) are infection control procedures universally applicable to every patient. Though SP reduces disease transmission, their implementation is dependent on the knowledge and skills of healthcare workers (HCWs). Poor knowledge regarding the appropriate use of SP can cause fear among HCWs, leading to stigma and discrimination while treating people living with HIV (PLWH). Stigma and discrimination are known barriers for PLWH to access HIV care services. The aim of the study was to assess nursing student knowledge of SP, SP self-efficacy and SP perceived efficacy of nursing students, and (2) to assess the association between SP knowledge, perceived efficacy, and intention to utilize unwarranted precautions, like using double gloves while treating PLWH.
Methods: This paper analyzes baseline (non-randomized) data of a cluster randomized controlled trial amongst 1868 Indian nursing students. Data was collected using computer-administered structured questionnaire. The associations between the measures were done using multiple, logistic and poisson regression models.
Results: Although 97% nursing students could identify SP, only 35.5% understood that they need to be used with all patients. Awareness of the importance of using SP with all patients was positively associated with self-efficacy. Students performing high-risk tasks frequently were significantly more likely to be confident in their ability to correctly use SP, but also had higher intention to use unwarranted precautions.
Conclusions: Existing teaching and training programs for HCWs need to provide clear guidelines and emphasize on the correct use of SP with all patients. This will increase both skills and confidence in their abilities (self-efficacy).
Keywords: HIV; Nursing students; Self-efficacy; Standard precautions.