Date of Award


Document Type



Edith Cowan University

Degree Name

Bachelor of Health Science (Honours)


School of Nursing


Western Australian College of Advanced Education

First Supervisor

Ruth C. MacKay


Research into Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome, Hepatitis B., and other bloodborne pathogens has led to the current worldwide awareness that patients can be admitted to hospitals with potentially fatal diseases that can remain undetected in blood and certain body fluids. This has resulted in a change of emphasis in Infection Control, namely isolating the source of infection rather than isolating the diagnosed infectious patient. One such technique recommended to protect healthcare workers, and other patients from nosocomial disease, is Universal Precautions. This study, using a descriptive survey design and structured questionnaire examined nurses' stated compliance to this technique in a suburban, non-teaching hospital of over 100 beds. The 77 subjects, who volunteered to complete a questionnaire, were all currently involved in direct patient care. Nursing staff working in the General Geriatric Ward, Psycho-Geriatric Ward, General Surgical/Medical Ward, Maternity Ward, and Operating Rooms were invited to take part in the study. The data collection took place over a one week period by the investigator personally taking the questionnaires to the wards. The analysis of the data, using a Statistical Analysis System, showed that even though the level of knowledge and opinion level were positive, the stated practice of Universal Precautions was low. The range of correlations was so small that the planned multiple regression was only carried out for one variable, knowledge, the result of which was F( 1. 75)= l.38 P<.24., which was not significant. The results of one-way analysis of variance computed for stated practice by experience, level designation, and area of work were not significant. This study revealed that though nurses may have a reasonable level of knowledge, and a positive opinion towards Universal Precautions, the Stated Practice may be low regardless of the years of experience, level of employment or area of work. Research needs to be continued to further examine what other factors may be influencing the lack of stated compliance by nurses’ to Universal Precautions, a recommended technique of nosocomial disease protection.