Aim. This paper is a report of a study to determine: (a) Spanish nurses’ level of knowledge of existing guidelines for pressure ulcer prevention and treatment, (b) the level of implementation of this knowledge in clinical practice and (c) the professional and educational factors that influence knowledge and practice.
Background. Improvement in pressure ulcer care depends both on the dissemination of knowledge and on its implementation in clinical practice. Studies carried out in several countries have demonstrated gaps in knowledge about recommendations for pressure ulcer care and deficiencies in their implementation.
Methods. A survey was carried out between September 2001 and June 2002, targeting a cluster randomized sample of 2006 Registered Nurses and Licensed Practice Nurses working at hospitals, primary healthcare centres and elder care centres in Andalusia (Spain).
Results. The response rate was 36·9% (n = 740). The level of knowledge of prevention interventions was 79·1%, while that of treatment interventions was 75·9%. The levels of implementation in clinical practice were notably lower: 68·1% for prevention, and 65·3% for treatment. Nurses holding a university degree obtained higher scores, and those who had received specific education in pressure ulcer care obtained higher scores both for knowledge and clinical practice. Taking part in research projects also improved knowledge implementation.
Conclusion. Although most of the recommendations on pressure ulcer care found in guidelines are well known by nurses, there is a group of interventions about which they have insufficient knowledge and low implementation rates.