1.1 BACKGROUND TO THE STUDY
The hospital is not just a place where sick people are treated and recover from illness it is also a place where the healthy gets infected (Bjerke, 2003). All health care providers including nurses are at risk of exposure to various infections such as Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV), hepatitis B and hepatitis C Viruses, from sharps and contacts with deep body fluids (Sadoh, Fawole, Sadoh, Oladimeji and Soliloye 2006), and (Solanky, Baria, Neurulka and Chavda 2016), this is because of exposure to blood and other body fluids during the course of their work. Nurses are the most affected by occupational accidents, being exposed to potentially contaminated biological material, due to the peculiarity of their activities that involve direct and permanent care, constant and frequent handling of needles and other sharp objects and daily contact with potentially contaminated objects in the process of cleaning, disinfection, sterilization, handling of fecal specimens and materials for laboratory testing (Portoa and Marziale 2016). Nursing students are thought to be at high risk of needle-stick injury due to poor technique inexperience and poor use of universal precautions (Ofili,Asuzu and Okojie, 2003). Needle stick injuries or other injuries from sharps, mucutaeneous injuries (splash of blood or other body fluids into their eyes, nose or mouth) or blood contact with non intact skin are the most common modes of occupational exposure.(Chaudhuri, Baidiya and Singh 2016). Needle stick injury was reported to be the commonest occupational health hazard in a Nigerian teaching hospital (Orji, Fasubaa and Onuwudiegwu, 2002). An estimated 3 million cases of needle stick injury was reported in healthcare workers each year,(WHO, 2003).
Most blood exposures in the health settings can be prevented by implementation of standard precautions (Luntsi, Nwobi, Ochei, Nkubli Abubakar, Moi and Abubakar 2014). Standard precautions are meant to reduce the risk of transmission of blood-borne diseases and other pathogens from both recognized and unrecognized sources. They are basic level of infection control precautions which are to be used in the care of all patients (WHO, 2007). They are designed to prevent the health care staff from being exposed to blood and body fluids by application of the basic principle of infection control through hand hygiene, which is the major component of standard precautions, utilization of appropriate protective barriers such as gloves, masks, gowns, eyewear and safe handling of needles (Motamed, mahmoodi, Khalilial, Peykanheirati and Nozari, 2006).
Despite the simplicity and clarity of these guidelines, compliance among nurses are reportedly low (Georgios, Evridiki, Vasilios and Anastosis, 2011) .Although high incidence of occupational exposure occurs among all health care professionals, nurses are among those who are more exposed (Kosgeroglu, Durmaz, Bahar, Kural and Yelken 2004). Hence the researcher was motivated into studying the practice of standard precautions among nurses working in Irrua specialist teaching hospital, Irrua Edo state.
1.2 STATEMENT OF RESEARCH PROBLEM
Over the years, studies have shown that the majority of reported cases of occupational blood exposure were among nurses. Thus a study of this nature is necessary. The research problem could be put in question form as, Do nurses practice standard precautions?
1.3 RESEARCH QUESTIONS
- What is the nurses’ level of knowledge towards the practice of standard precautions?
- Do nurses practice standard precautions in the hospital?
1.4 OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY
To determine the problem of this study, the following objectives were deemed necessary.
- To determine the level of knowledge of standard precautions among nurses working at Irrua Specialist teaching Hospital, Irrua.
- To determine the level of practice of standard precaution amongst nurses in Irrua Specialist Teaching Hospital (ISTH), Irrua.
1.5 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
The practice of standard precautions in nursing practice will not only prevent the nurse from infections but every health worker, clinical student, as well as patients. This study will also give insight to nurses to adhere strictly to standard precautions as professional nurses as well as others related in the health field.
1.6 SCOPE OF THE STUDY
This study will be delimited to the nurses working at Irrua Specialist Teaching Hospital, Irrua Edo State. They are 565 in number.
1.7 OPERATIONAL DEFINITION OF TERMS
PRACTICE: A performance or way of doing something, which is carried out regularly as a habit.
COMPLIANCE: the extent to which nurses follow the rules, regulations and recommendations of standard precautions.
STANDARD PRECAUTIONS: These are set of infection control practices used to prevent transmission of diseases that can be acquired by contact with blood, body fluids, non-intact skin( including rashes) and mucus membranes.
BLOOD-BORNE INFECTIONS: These are infections that are spread through contamination of blood and other body fluids.
NOSOCOMIAL INFECTIONS: An infection acquired in the hospital appearing during, and after discharge and also includes occupational infections among staff of the facility.
OCCUPATIONAL HAZARDS: This is an injury or ailment resulting from the work one does or from the environment in which they work.
NEEDLE STICK INJURY: A penetration from sharp objects usually needle which was in contact with blood, tissue or other body fluid before the exposure.