Survey to assess the knowledge of nurses on basic radiation protection at the University Teaching Hospital (UTH) in Zambia
Background: Nurses provide care to patients undergoing radiological examinations. In this context, nurses can be exposed to ionising radiation which has biological effects on the human tissue. This necessitates the requirement that nurses have knowledge of basic radiation protection.
Aim: This study aimed to assess the knowledge on nurses about basic radiation protection at the University Teaching Hospital (UTH) of Zambia.
Methodology: A total of 72 nurses working at UTH completed the online survey on basic radiation protection in March 2022. The survey questionnaire was divided into four domains: regulation and sources of radiation, the biological effect of radiation, the justification principle, and control of external radiation. Data was analysed using descriptive and inference statistics.
Results: The overall performance of nurses on basic radiation protection was below average, with a median score of 40% (IQR 20%-60%). The Kruskal-Wallis and Dunn's multiple comparisons statistical tests were performed and found no significant difference in performance across the four domains of basic radiation protection (p=0.1969) contained in the survey questionnaire. Statistical results were considered significant at p <0.05.
Conclusion: The overall level of knowledge on basic radiation protection among nurses was below average. There is a need to review the nursing curriculum to incorporate basic radiation protection and attach nursing students to radiology departments during their clinical practice.