Registered and enrolled nurses' knowledge of hepatitis C and attitudes towards patients with hepatitis C.
A questionnaire was used to determine registered and enrolled nurses' knowledge of, and attitudes towards patients with hepatitis C. The research aim was to discover if nurses held discriminatory attitudes towards patients with hepatitis C, and to determine how their knowledge of hepatitis C and their demographic characteristics impacted on their attitudes and practices. One thousand questionnaires were distributed to nurses (20 were returned unopened). One hundred and sixty of the remaining 980 were returned (16.3%).The majority of nurses reported non-discriminatory attitudes towards patients with hepatitis C. A number of variables impacted on nurses' level of hepatitis C knowledge and their willingness to care for patients with hepatitis C. These variables included nurses' level of experience, perceptions of personal risk of contracting hepatitis C in the workplace, and recent incidents of sharps injuries. Strategies to reduce the level of staff anxiety related to hepatitis C infection and risks of transmission may further increase the willingness of nurses to care for hepatitis C-positive persons.