• confidence;
  • educational intervention;
  • epidemic;
  • infection control precautions;
  • knowledge;
  • nursing students;
  • severe acute respiratory syndrome


Title. Nursing students’ knowledge and practice of infection control precautions: aneducational intervention.

Aim.  This paper is a report of the effectiveness of a purpose-designed education program in improving undergraduate nursing students’ understanding and practice of infection control precautions.

Background.  The severe acute respiratory syndrome outbreak in 2003 highlighted that healthcare workers were under-prepared for such an epidemic. While many in-service education sessions were arranged by institutions in response to the outbreak, preservice nursing education has overlooked preparation for handling such infectious disease epidemics.

Method.  A quasi-experimental design was used and a 16-hour, purpose-designed infection control education programme was implemented for preservice nursing students in southern Taiwan. Self-administered questionnaires were distributed at three time points during the period September 2005 to April 2006 to examine the sustainability and effectiveness of the intervention.

Results.  A total of 175 preservice nursing students participated in the study. Following the education programme, students in the intervention group showed a statistically significant improvement across time in their knowledge of these precautions [F(2, 180) = 13·53, < 0·001] and confidence in resolving infection-related issues [F(1·79, 168·95) = 3·24] when compared with those in the control group.

Conclusion.  To improve nursing students’ capacity in responding to infectious epidemics, an educational programme that integrates the theme of infection precautions, learning theory and teaching strategies is recommended for all nursing institutes.