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Pressure injury prevention sore spot for students

Nursing students aren’t aware of some strategies to prevent pressure injuries but feel it falls on them to help out, a survey has found.

Researchers from the University of New England (UNE) quizzed undergraduate nursing students across seven Australian universities to find out how much they know about pressure injury prevention, testing aspects like nutrition, observation and risk assessment.

Less than a quarter of the students in the study scored 60 per cent or over, with most hovering around a pass mark.

Most students knew that improving nutrition can reduce the risk of pressure injuries, with the nutrition category returning the highest scores, while the lowest overall score was achieved on the topic of preventive measures to reduce the amount of pressure/shear.

Students struggled with questions surrounding posture, pressure relieving devices and mattresses. “Most students did not know: how to position patients to minimise contact pressure between the seat and the body (68.5 per cent), when a patient is sliding down in a chair, how to minimise the amount of pressure at the seat (67.9 per cent) and how to use a visco-elastic foam mattress, in conjunction with repositioning, for patients at risk of developing a pressure injury (66.4 per cent),” the study read.

Despite the lower scores in some categories, most students agreed that pressure injury prevention should be a priority and that they personally feel responsible if a pressure injury develops in their patients.

“The students in this study agreed they had a role in pressure injury prevention and that it should be a priority. The greatest concern about pressure injury prevention attitudes is personal competency beliefs,” the study read.

It added that the findings highlight the need for a comprehensive approach to increase students’ knowledge in this area and for students to have adequate experiences in clinical units
with a high focus on pressure injury prevention.

The authors also called on educators, registered nurses, and nurse supervisors to involve students in pressure injury prevention.

Nursing Review spoke with lead author Kim Usher, head of the School of Health at UNE, to discuss the ways nurses can help students improve their approach to pressure injuries and what changes are needed in training organisations.

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