Standard Precaution Knowledge and Behavioral Intentions Among Students in the Healthcare Field: A Cross-Sectional Study

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Background Infectious diseases are a major threat to healthcare workers and patients alike. Standard precautions (SPs) are a pivotal element in controlling their spread. However, worldwide reported compliance with SP guidelines is suboptimal among workers and students in the healthcare field. Purpose The objective of this study was to identify the knowledge and behavioral intent patterns of students in the healthcare field as well as the relationship of these patterns to the students' study program, clinical exposure, and attitudes. Methods This cross-sectional study employed a web-based structured questionnaire. Participants were students of nursing, emergency medicine for paramedics, physiotherapy, and medicine studying at a public university in Israel. The questionnaire assessed SP-related knowledge and behavioral intent, perceptions of personal responsibility, and the presence of mentors as role models. The K-means clustering method was used. Results The 259 students (33% response rate) who completed the questionnaire were enrolled as participants and divided into two knowledge and behavioral intent clusters. Cluster 1 (n = 156) had a higher proportion of nursing students and a lower proportion of medical students than Cluster 2 (n = 103). Emergency medicine for paramedics and physiotherapy students were more evenly distributed between the clusters. Participants who were classified in Cluster 1 reported higher intent with regard to proper hand hygiene, use of personal protective equipment, and decontamination practices. In multivariable analysis, only three variables predicted belonging to Cluster 1: nursing students, perception of their mentors as role models, and perception of having higher personal responsibility for microbiological safety. Conclusions We observed clear patterns of knowledge and behavior among the students in the healthcare field examined in this study. These patterns were influenced by profession, role mentoring, and sense of responsibility. This use of cluster analysis may contribute to the development of better SP educational endeavors. The patterns identified highlight the need for improved training and the importance of role modeling for healthcare students in all areas of specialization.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)E229
Number of pages1
JournalJournal of Nursing Research
Issue number5
StatePublished - Oct 2022


  • attitude
  • healthcare profession students
  • knowledge
  • practice
  • standard precautions

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Nursing


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