HIV and the Work Intentions of Public Health Nurses

Authors

  • Irene Tessaro R.N., Dr.P.H.,

    Corresponding author
    1. Irene Tessaro, and Marion Highriter are with the Curriculum in Public Health Nursing, School of Public Health, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
      Address correspondence to Irene Tessaro, 144 Hamilton Road, Chapel Hill, NC 27514.
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  • Marion Highriter R.N., D.Sc.

    1. Irene Tessaro, and Marion Highriter are with the Curriculum in Public Health Nursing, School of Public Health, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
    Search for more papers by this author

Address correspondence to Irene Tessaro, 144 Hamilton Road, Chapel Hill, NC 27514.

Abstract

Abstract Studies have examined the association between attitudes about the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and nurses' willingness or intentions to work with infected persons. However, the relationship between these intentions and perceived concern from nurses' family and friends, or factors of professional nursing experience is relatively unexplored. An anonymous questionnaire was completed by 311 public health nurses from areas with high and low prevalence of acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) in North Carolina. Multiple regression analysis showed that nurses had stronger intentions to work with HIV-infected clients if they had more favorable attitudes about the disease, perceived friends and loved ones to be supportive of such work, had stronger professional ties to public health, and had worked fewer years in public health. In addition, nurses from low AIDS-prevalence areas had stronger intentions to work with these clients if they had professional nursing care experience with them. These findings are consistent with the Theory of Reasoned Action, but also identify professional nursing experience as independently associated with behavioral intentions. This suggests that attitudinal, normative, and professional experiences are all important in examining nurses' intentions to work with clients infected with HIV.

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