Montagna, Maria Teresa and Napoli, Christian and Tafuri, Silvio and Agodi, Antonella and Auxilia, Francesco and Casini, Beatrice and Coscia, Maria Franca and D'Errico, Marcello Mario and Ferrante, Margherita and Fortunato, Angelo and Germinario, Cinzia and Martinelli, Domenico and Masanotti, Giuseppe Michele and Massenti, Maria Fatima and Messina, Gabriele and Montuori, Paolo and Mura, Ida Iolanda and Orsi, Giovanni Battista and Quaranta, Alessia and Sotgiu, Giovanni and Stefanati, Armando and Tardivo, Stefano and Torregrossa, Maria Valeria and Tortorano, Anna Maria and Veronesi, Licia and Zarrilli, Raffaele and Pasquarella, Cesira (2014) Knowledge about tuberculosis among undergraduate health care students in 15 Italian universities: a cross-sectional study. BMC Public Health, Vol. 14 (970). eISSN 1471-2458. Article.
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Background: The Italian Study Group on Hospital Hygiene of the Italian Society of Hygiene, Preventive Medicine and Public Health conducted a multicentre survey aiming to evaluate undergraduate health care students’ knowledge of tuberculosis and tuberculosis control measures in Italy.
Methods: In October 2012–June 2013, a sample of medical and nursing students from 15 Italian universities were enrolled on a voluntary basis and asked to complete an anonymous questionnaire investigating both general knowledge of tuberculosis (aetiology, clinical presentation, outcome, screening methods) and personal experiences and practices related to tuberculosis prevention. Data were analysed through multivariable regression using Stata software.
Results: The sample consisted of 2,220 students in nursing (72.6%) and medicine (27.4%) courses. Our findings clearly showed that medical students had a better knowledge of tuberculosis than did nursing students.
Although the vast majority of the sample (up to 95%) answered questions about tuberculosis aetiology correctly, only 60% of the students gave the correct responses regarding clinical aspects and vaccine details. Overall, 66.9% of the students had been screened for tuberculosis, but less than 20% of those with a negative result on the tuberculin skin test were vaccinated. Multivariable regression analysis showed that age and type of study programme (nursing vs. medical course) were determinants of answering the questions correctly.
Conclusions: Although our data showed sufficient knowledge on tuberculosis, this survey underlines the considerable need for improvement in knowledge about the disease, especially among nursing students. In light of the scientific recommendations concerning tuberculosis knowledge among students, progress of current health care curricula aimed to develop students’ skills in this field is needed.
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