Readying nurses for clinical practice: Protecting students during an outbreak of Middle Eastern-Coronavirus in Saudi Arabia

Bridget V. Stirling, Jennie Harmston


Background: Saudi Arabia is experiencing an outbreak of Middle Eastern-Coronavirus (MERS-CoV) both in the hospitals and in the community. The MERS-CoV kills about 40% of those infected and has been detected in 22 different countries worldwide. The Faculty of Nursing at the world’s largest female-only university banded together to create an education program to prevent exposure and ultimately infection of students and staff from MERS-CoV.

Methods: This study included two questionnaires given before and after a series of educational workshops to understand what students knew, what they learned, what was happening at the clinical setting, and where they were getting their information. The purpose was to answer questions and to inform the nursing college community about best practices for disease transmission prevention. A pre and post-questionnaire was given after approval from the college ethical committee. Summary statistics are presented as percentages of the participant sample that responded to each question. T-tests were performed to assess the difference between means of the pre and post-test.

Results: This study showed that baseline knowledge was low before the educational workshop sessions. While knowledge increased, anxiety decreased (p less than 0.05), and intention to increase frequency of hand washing increased (not statistically significant). The majority of students sought information about the epidemic from Twitter (40%), followed by television (36%).

Conclusions: Nursing colleges may need to review existing or develop new epidemic-related policies. These include attendance of students in clinical settings and the duty of care towards patients during epidemics.

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Journal of Nursing Education and Practice

ISSN 1925-4040 (Print)   ISSN 1925-4059 (Online)

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