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Open Access Highly Accessed Research article

Knowledge of pressure ulcer prevention: a cross-sectional and comparative study among nurses

Mirjam A Hulsenboom1*, Gerrie JJW Bours12 and Ruud JG Halfens1

Author affiliations

1 Maastricht University, Department of Health Care Studies, Section of Nursing Science, The Netherlands

2 Zuyd University, Center of expertise on Autonomy and Participation, The Netherlands

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Citation and License

BMC Nursing 2007, 6:2  doi:10.1186/1472-6955-6-2

Published: 9 March 2007

Abstract

Background

Pressure ulcers are a common, painful and costly condition. Results of a 1991 study into the knowledge among Dutch hospital nurses on the usefulness of measures to prevent pressure ulcers showed moderate knowledge. Results were confirmed by subsequent studies. In recent years, Dutch guidelines have been updated and the attention given to pressure ulcer care has been increased. This was expected to improve pressure ulcer care and to increase nurses' knowledge. The aims of the current study were to investigate (1) how much nurses employed in Dutch hospitals know about the usefulness of 28 preventive measures considered in the most recent national pressure ulcer guideline; (2) whether differences in knowledge exist between nurses working in hospitals that audit pressure ulcers and those employed in hospitals that do not; and (3) to study whether knowledge among Dutch hospital nurses regarding the usefulness of preventive measures had changed between 1991 and 2003.

Methods

A cross-sectional study design among nurses employed in Dutch hospitals in 2003 was used to investigate their knowledge and differences in knowledge between nurses employed in different types of institution. A comparative design was used to assess whether knowledge differed between this population and that of Dutch hospital nurses in 1991. The nurses' knowledge was assessed by a written questionnaire. Data of 522 respondents meeting the inclusion criteria were analyzed and compared with the results of the 351 nurses included in the 1991 study.

Results

Knowledge in 2003 was slightly better than that in 1991. The nurses were moderately aware of the usefulness of preventive measures. Nurses employed in organizations that monitored pressure ulcers did not display greater knowledge than those employed in organizations that did not do so.

Conclusion

Knowledge among Dutch hospital nurses about the usefulness of measures to prevent pressure ulcers seems to be moderate. Being employed in an institution that monitors pressure ulcer care hardly affects the knowledge level. Knowledge about prevention has improved little since 1991.