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Winning Abstract from the 2007 Medical Student Abstract Competition: Medical Students Have Misconceptions About Standard Precautions And Biosafety Measures

Author:
Lia Monsalve, University Central de Venezuela

Introduction:
Medical students are at a very high risk of acquiring health-care related infectious diseases. Students represent the third most frequent group with exposure accidents. Students are frequently exposed to blood and other body fluids when they perform invasive procedures during their training, therefore, their knowledge in biosafety measures is essential to prevent such accidents. We propose to evaluate the training of medical students in terms of biosafety to manage these procedures.

Methods:
A descriptive, transversal study was conducted over 115 medical students in the 4th and 5th year from the "Luis Razetti" School of Medicine in the academic period 2005-2006. Both a self-administered Likert-type survey and a knowledge test were given to the students to evaluate their attitude and knowledge on health-associated risks and universal biosafety measures.

Results:
Of the 115 students, 66.95% were females and 33.04% were males, with an average age of 22 years. 41 % percent agreed and 53.09% totally agreed with "being on risk of health-care related accidents". When asked, 54.86% disagreed and 24.77% totally disagreed that the responsibility in preventing accidents rests with their superiors. Half of the medical students had no knowledge of the existence of a Hygiene and Biosafety Commission in their Hospital.

Only 55.65% of the students knew that cerebrospinal, synovial, pleural, peritoneal, amniotic and pericardial fluids are considered potentially infectious for HIV, HBV and HCV; 23.47% knew that in case of accidents with needles or other sharp objects they must wash the skin area vigorously. Only 26.95% of the surveyed knew that needles and other objects in contact with body fluids must be discarded in containers designed for that purpose. Finally, 80% were aware that parenteral transmission is produced by contact of body fluids with injured skin.

Conclusion:
Medicine students in our study showed a great misconception towards biosafety measures and the risks they are exposed to. This issue needs to be addressed by the various education commissions during the medical student training.

Back to December 2007 Issue of IMpact

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