The knowledge, attitudes and perceived support of Tanzanian nurses when caring for patients with AIDS

T W Kohi, M J Horrocks
International Journal of Nursing Studies 1994, 31 (1): 77-86
In the literature on AIDS, much attention has been paid to the Western health care workers' knowledge of and attitudes toward AIDS. Little is known of the knowledge and attitudes of health care workers of developing countries. This study provides a descriptive and comparative examination of Tanzanian nurses' knowledge of, and attitudes towards AIDS and their perceived support when caring for patients with AIDS. A self-completing questionnaire was used to collect data. Questionnaires were completed and returned by 172 of the 180 nurses to whom they were distributed, a response rate of 95.5%. A random sample of 45 nurses was chosen from each hospital--two teaching and two regional hospitals. Data analysis included descriptive statistics, t-test, correlation coefficient, ANOVA and multiple regression. The research revealed that 96% of Tanzanian nurses appeared to have a satisfactory or passing level of knowledge about AIDS. However, they are overly cautious and have negative attitudes toward the care of patients with HIV/AIDS. They lacked knowledge regarding transmission and risk factors and indicated fear of contagion (AIDS-phobia). Most nurses indicated that they had a supportive working environment (informal support groups) in their working areas, but few formal supports and little in-service education. Further, they received support from their family and friends.

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