n Africa Journal of Nursing and Midwifery - The perceptions of critical care nurses in relation to their educational preparedness in caring for people living with HIV/AIDS

Volume 16, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 1682-5055


Many HIV-infected patients diagnosed with the complex staging of the disease and severe opportunistic events require admission to critical care units, making care complicated. Further to this, antiretroviral therapy and unanswered questions concerning its use in these units add to the already intricate and complicated cases admitted to critical care. Complications are increased by issues including legal statutes concerning HIV/Aids testing and disclosure. As a result, this study was aimed at exploring the perceptions of critical care nurses towards their educational preparedness in managing HIV/AIDS patients admitted to CCUs in KwaZulu-Natal.

A quantitative descriptive research design was used and data collection included a structured questionnaire and open-ended questions. The sample size consisted of 100 CCNs (79 from the public setting and 21 from the private sector). Of the critical care nurses, 44.6% (n=25) who had undergone training in HIV/AIDS management, only 25% (n=14) perceived that they were not educationally prepared to provide effective services for patients with HIV/AIDS. Fifty (n=50) (89.3%) critical care nurses reported that HIV/AIDS management should be incorporated into the critical care curriculum. Their universal perception, n=42 (75%), was that this will improve the standards of care. Nurses are still challenged by factors such as the advanced level of the HIV disease, confidentiality, knowledge about treatment regimen and emotional challenges related to caring for these patients.
More research with a larger scale sample is required to provide appropriate generalisation of the findings of this study. Alternatively, a qualitative research study exploring the lived experiences of critical care nurses caring for people living with HIV/AIDS is suggested.

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