Background. Although the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) epidemic in China is expanding rapidly, the principles of universal precautions (UP) are not widely disseminated in Chinese hospitals. Lack of training about occupational prevention of bloodborne pathogens (BBP) may place student nurses at risk when they are in clinical practice.
Aim. To examine the impact of structured training on prevention of occupational exposure to BBP on knowledge, behaviour, and incidence of medical sharp injuries among student nurses in Changsha, China.
Methods. A quasi-experimental study evaluated changes in knowledge, self-reported UP behaviours, observed adherence to UP, and needle stick/sharp injuries during a 4-month follow-up period. The study population consisted of 106 student nurses in two classes. One class served as the experimental group, while the other served as a control group. Students in the experimental group participated in a structured training intervention consisting of lectures and demonstrations.
Results. At 4 months, the group that received the BBP training scored significantly higher than the standard education group on both knowledge ( P < 0·001) and behaviour ( P = 0·002). Although students in the experimental group were not observed to practise UP significantly more frequently than those in the control group, they were less likely to experience needle stick/sharp injuries (OR = 0·29; 95% CI 0·11, 0·74; P = 0·004).
Conclusion. Structured training in prevention of occupational exposure to BBP improved knowledge and behaviour and reduced the number of needle stick/sharp injuries among Chinese student nurses, compared with students who did not receive the training. Training in the techniques of UP could play a role in reducing the risk for occupational exposure to BBP among Chinese future nurses. In view of the accelerating HIV epidemic, implementation and evaluation of such training programmes are urgently needed.