English nursing and medical students' attitudes towards organ donation

M Cantwell, C Clifford
Journal of Advanced Nursing 2000, 32 (4): 961-8
The purpose of the study reported in this paper was to examine nursing and medical students' attitudes towards organ and corneal donation. A sample of 72 nursing and medical degree students from a British University, completed a 61-item self-administered quantitative questionnaire, adapted by Kent and Owens (1995) from an original tool devised by Parisi and Katz (1986). The findings revealed that all but one of the respondents had an overall positive attitude towards organ donation; a significant relationship was found to exist between the extent of this positive attitude held by each student and their personal willingness to donate organs. In total, 74% of the student nurses had already signed a donor card, compared to only 43% of the medical students, and the difference in the two groups' personal commitment towards donation was significant (P = 0.005). However, this disparity between the nursing and medical students was not evident when students were questioned about personally accepting organs, for survival. Most respondents agreed that they would take some form of transplanted organ or tissue into their body, if it was needed to maintain life. Overall, the study revealed that although this group of student nurses seem to be in favour of organ donation, with many willing to sign a donor card, doubts still exist in the medical student group. Further work is required to understand this phenomena. A comparison of the data with an earlier study completed by Kent and Owens (1995) indicate that student nurses may have a more positive orientation to donation than qualified staff.

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