CUTTER J. (2011) Commentary: the importance of education and vaccination in reducing the risk of hepatitis infection among nursing students. International Nursing Review58, 186–187
Background: Healthcare workers are at risk of contracting blood-borne viral infection during contact with blood and body fluids. Nursing students may be at particular risk because of their inexperience. Adoption of suitable precautions, hepatitis B vaccination and appropriate post-exposure prophylaxis will significantly reduce the risk of infection.
Aim: This commentary puts into context the findings of a study by Yamazhan et al. who explored nursing students' knowledge on hepatitis together with their immunization status.
Evaluation: Knowledge of hepatitis, its mode of transmission and the risks of infection following adverse exposure to blood and body fluids are essential to ensure safe practice. This paper identifies that nursing students' knowledge of hepatitis is moderate only and varies between universities. However, the uptake of hepatitis B vaccination among the sample was high, suggesting a high commitment to reducing the risk of this infection by the universities and clinical placements.
Implications: This paper highlights the need for a standardized education package to be developed and delivered by all universities in Turkey to ensure that nursing students have a sound knowledge of hepatitis and other blood-borne infections. Vaccination programmes must continue to ensure that nursing students are protected from hepatitis B.