On-line version ISSN 2223-6279
Print version ISSN 0379-8577
Protection of health care workers including students from being infected when caring for high risk patients is a major cause for concern to all promoting occupational health. Safety of every employee is mandatory. Furthermore, universal guidelines for precautions must be used by all interacting with high risk patients and clients to protect themselves and prevent the spread of infection. The aim of this paper was to ascertain the availability of universal guidelines for precautions against the spread of infection in clinical settings and determine the precautions used by OHN students during their clinical placements. To realise these objectives, a quantitative and descriptive design was followed. A purposive sampling method was used to select 45 Occupational health nursing students who participated in the study. Data was collected with the use of a structured questionnaire and the results revealed that: most units where OHN students were placed for clinical experience had guidelines for universal precautions although these were not always accessible to them; regarding compliance to universal precautions, OHN students were reportedly aware of the hazards of failure to comply although in some emergencies and where personal protective material was not available, they had to provide care without using protective equipments. Recommendations made include that employers and staff at all occupational settings must ensure that updated guidelines for universal precautions are available and accessible to every body interacting with high risk patients; health care providers and students must be fully informed about and should always adhere to universal precautions.
Keywords : Universal precautions; high risk patients; micro-organisms; human immunodeficiency virus; occupational health nursing students.