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PURPOSE: Management of hospital-acquired pressure ulcers (PUs) is an essential aspect of nursing practice that requires knowledge of risk assessment, prevention, identification, and treatment strategies. The aim of this study was to assess nurses' knowledge of PU management in order to identify knowledge gaps.

SUBJECTS AND SETTING: The study setting was a large Australian health service district employing more than 10,000 nurses in full and part-time roles. A proportional (by facility) and stratified (by nursing grade) sample of 10% of the district population was targeted. Eight hundred twenty-seven participants completed the survey. Most participants had more than 5 years of experience as professional nurses.

DESIGN: Cross-sectional survey.

INSTRUMENT: A modified version of the Pressure Ulcer Knowledge Test, comprising 49 true/false questions, was used. A cutoff score of 90% of participants answering an item correctly was used to gauge “adequate” knowledge level.

METHODS: An opportunity to participate in the research was advertised throughout the different facilities in the district by strategically placed posters, computer screen savers, and e-mails. Most data were collected online, with some collected manually using paper-based questionnaires. All data were collected between April and November 2012.

RESULTS: Twenty-six questions (53%) were answered correctly by 90% or more of participants, and 6 questions were answered correctly by 50% or less, identifying important knowledge deficits. The mean Pressure Ulcer Knowledge Test score was 79%; 15 nurses (1.8%) achieved a score of 90% or more, and more than 90% achieved scores more than 70%. There were small but significant positive effects of years of nursing experience and level of nursing grade on the knowledge scores.

CONCLUSIONS: Our results identified deficits in PU knowledge and areas where nurses would benefit from focused education strategies.

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Journal Article

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