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Keywords:

  • attitudes;
  • health knowledge;
  • nurses;
  • physicians;
  • practice;
  • prescriptions;
  • pressure ulcer;
  • primary health care;
  • Spain

Aims and objectives

To report on a study of what primary care nurses and physicians know about medications and healthcare products to prevent and treat pressure ulcers.

Background

The prevention and treatment of pressure ulcers has generally become the responsibility of the nursing staff; this has resulted in studies of nurses' knowledge of this task, although few studies include physicians in their analysis.

Design

Cross-sectional survey conducted in North Girona (Province) Primary Care Services from February to April 2010.

Methods

The study questionnaire had three sections: sociodemographic data, questions about division of responsibility for the care of patients with pressure ulcers or at risk of developing them, and 36 statements based on the recommendations in clinical practice guidelines provided by well-recognised national and international institutions.

Results

Eighty-one nurses (64·8%) and 46 physicians (36·8%) responded to this study. Nurses had greater responsibility for the care of pressure ulcers, made greater use of medical prescriptions to obtain supplies if not available in the primary care centre, were more familiar with the site's clinical practice guidelines on the topic and showed better adherence to their recommendations. Nurses also had better knowledge than the participating physicians of the use of medications and healthcare products to heal or to prevent pressure ulcers.

Conclusions

Nurses had sufficient knowledge and more appropriate skills than the participating physicians for the prescription of medications and healthcare products for the prevention and treatment of pressure ulcers.

Relevance to clinical practice

The data demonstrated that nurses have sufficient knowledge and skill to provide wound care and could safely write these prescriptions, although Spanish law permitting nurse prescription is not fully implemented.