The knowledge and attitudes of student nurses towards patients with sexually transmitted infections: Exploring changes to the curriculum

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Abstract

Evidence suggests that nurses can struggle to care for patients with sexually transmitted infections in a non-judgemental way. It is unknown how targeted education can influence the knowledge and attitudes of student nurses towards caring for patients with sexually transmitted infections. This study aimed to investigate how a change in curriculum influenced the reported sexual health knowledge and attitudes of pre-registration adult student nurses in a University in the UK. A two phase mixed methods study, using a sequential explanatory strategy, collected quantitative questionnaire data (n=117) followed by qualitative group data (n= 12). Data were collected from one cohort of students before a curriculum change and then from a subsequent cohort of students. Those students who had increased educational input in relation to sexual health reported higher degrees of knowledge and demonstrated a more positive attitude towards patients with a sexually transmitted infection. Both cohorts of students identified that education in this subject area was essential to challenge negative attitudes and positively influence patient care. Active learning approaches in the curriculum such as small group debates and service user involvement have the ability to allow students to express and challenge their beliefs in a safe and supportive environment.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)512-517
JournalNurse Education in Practice
Volume14
Issue number5
Early online date15 May 2014
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 15 May 2014

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