A Study of Health and Safety Concerns of Nursing Students in South-South Nigeria

Edet O.B., Edet E. E., Akpan-Idiok P.A., Bassey, P.


Background: Creating a positive practice environment for nursing students, who constitute a critical mass of the requisite health sector workforce in developing countries that are plagued by an  acute shortage of health manpower,  has been advocated. Very little is known about their safety concerns in South-South Nigeria.

Methods: This descriptive cross sectional survey examined the health and safety concerns of nursing students in Calabar & Uyo, South-South geopolitical zone of Nigeria, as a basis for planning an appropriate safety education programme. A simple random sample of 297 nursing students in their penultimate (second) and final (third) year of study were selected for the study. Data collection tool was a structured validated, 21-item self-reporting questionnaire. Analysis was carried out using the Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS) version 14.

Results: The mean age of the students was 26 + / - 6.6 years, 160 (53.9%) and 137 (46.1%) were in their penultimate and final year respectively. The three topmost concerns of the respondents were contracting HIV/AIDS or Hepatitis B from a needle stick injury 187 (63.0%), infection with tuberculosis or other infectious diseases 180 (61.0%) and acute/chronic effect of stress and overwork 99 (33.0%). The least concerns of the students included, being exposed to radiations from lasers or burns from electrocautory devices 31(10.0%) and sustaining a back injury 31 (10.0%).

Conclusion: Safety education should address the expressed student concerns, namely, occupational transmission of blood borne infections, tuberculosis and stress. Provision of HBV vaccination, BCG vaccination, personal protective equipment, auto-destruct safety needles/syringes and sharp boxes, promotion of good nutrition and personal hygiene; institution of occupational health services in institutional training facilities  serving nursing students in training are also recommended to sustain a positive practice environment for the  students.

Keywords: Nursing Students, Health Concerns, Safety Concerns, Needlestickinjury

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