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Nurses’ knowledge deficits in relation to diabetes care : perceptions of general duty staff nurses Klein, Geraldine


The purpose of this study was to canvas the views of general duty staff nurses to obtain their insights regarding why many nurses have knowledge deficits in relation to diabetes, the factors they believe affect nurses' knowledge and perceptions in connection with this disease, and the strategies they think would be effective in improving nurses' knowledge in this area of care. This study begins to address the gap that is evident in the nursing literature with respect to nurses' diabetes knowledge acquisition, and application within practice. The study was designed using interpretive descriptive research methods. Nurses, who participated in this study anonymously via the Internet and the WWW, made 849 visits to the study web site, and 2,387 to the electronic bulletin board. However, only 46 submissions to the study web page contained usable data, and 10 comments were made to the electronic bulletin board. Inductive analysis was used to explore data that were obtained. Nurses indicated that they believe nurses have knowledge deficits about diabetes. Nurses related that several factors contribute to these knowledge deficits including practice area, initial nursing educational preparation, and participation in diabetes continuing educational inservices. Participants stated that they think nurses' knowledge deficits give rise to delays in diagnosis of diabetes; cause patients to misunderstand the disease process, essential diabetes survival skills, and dietary restrictions; bring about the generation of erroneous blood glucose results; and may lead to premature death for persons who live with diabetes. Lastly, participants suggested that nurses' knowledge could be ameliorated by placing more emphasis on diabetes instruction during nurses' training and by ensuring that nurses take part in continuing education about diabetes on a regular basis. The discussion of the findings of this study has highlighted many implications for nursing practice and education, and has generated a number of directions for nursing research. Additionally, this researcher's reflections about the process of conducting this study revealed many of the benefits and pitfalls that can occur when computers, the Internet, and the WWW are used as tools for data collection for research.

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