Master's Theses

Document Type

Thesis - campus only access

Date of Award

Fall 2001

Degree Name

Master of Science in Nursing (MSN)




Dr. Karyolyn Kells


The literature review indicated that many studies have been conducted regarding knowledge or attitudes toward HIV/AIDS. However, research remains inconclusive regarding knowledge and attitudes or rural nurses toward HIV/AIDS. Research reported have had limitations such as size of studies and definition of rural settings gives discrepancies in the literature (Valimaki, Suoninen, & Peate, 1998) An investigation to survey, rural nurses' knowledge and attitude regarding HIV/AIDS was conducted. Rural nurses' knowledge and attitudes toward HIV/AIDS were described. The Flaskerud AIDS Instrument (FAI) (Flaskerud, Lewis, & Shin, 1989) was mailed to 474 registered nurses (RN) and licensed practical nurses (LPN) in a rural mid-western state that yielded a response rate of 33% (N= 131). Demographics were analyzed with frequency and percentage on questions regarding gender (female = 97.7%), marital status (married = 84.7%), religion affiliation (Protestant = 74.8%) and ethnic/cultural (white = 96.2%) orientation. The mean age of the nurses was 48.8 years. The length of practice was calculated as a mean of 20.41 years. Participants' personal experience with HIV/AIDS indicated that 61.1% (n = 80) had taken care of a HIV/AIDS patient. A majority (n = 80, 61%) of the respondents indicated currently giving direct patient care. Educationally, this sample was 18.3% (n = 20) diploma nurses. 43.1 % (n = 47) associate degree nurses and 19.3% (n = 21) baccalaureate degree nurses. The FAI questionnaire had a Knowledge Subscale of 54 questions and an Attitude Subscale of 15 questions. The mean scores (M = 41.74. SD = 3.32) of the Knowledge Subscale of rural nurses regarding HIV/AIDS implied that overall they knew 77% of the questions. The mean scores of the Attitude Subscale (M = 5.37, SD = 2.41) demonstrated a 36% correct on attitude questions as directed by the authors of the F AI tool. This score reflected poor attitudes of rural nurses toward HIV/AIDS. In this investigation, the data did not show any statistically significant correlation between participants' knowledge and attitude. Analysis was done by calculation of a Pearson's r correlation (r = -0.30, p = .752). Analysis of the data indicated that age did not have a statistically significant correlation (r = -.124, p = .196) with knowledge. Data were obtained and the difference between the LPNs and RNs knowledge was calculated by comparing means of the LPNs' and the RNs' Knowledge Subscale scores. A t test demonstrated no statistically significant difference between LPNs' and RNs' knowledge about HIV/AIDS, t (105) = 1.529, p = .526. There was not a statistically significant difference in attitudes between LPNs and RNs. This was obtained by the calculation of a t test, t (109) = 1.49, p > .10. The question whether length of practice had any impact on attitude was measured by a Pearson’s product-moment correlation. There was no statistical significant relationship. Additional findings indicated there was not a statistically significant difference in knowledge for the nurses giving direct patient care and those who were not giving direct patient care in knowledge, t (1.373), p > .10. The nurses not giving direct patient care had a higher mean (42.09, SD = 3.26) then nurses who were giving direct patient care (M = 41.229, SD = 3.37). The difference in attitude between nurses giving direct patient care and those who were not giving direct patient care was not statistically significant, t (1.637), p >.10. An additional calculation was done to determine whether there was a relationship between knowledge and attitude for those who were giving direct patient care. There was no statistical significance found. A final additional finding was the relationship between age and attitude. The data were analyzed using a Pearson’s product-moment correlation and was found to be statistically significant, r = .191, p = .047. The implications of this investigation were presented regarding nursing research, nursing practice, nursing theory development and nursing education. Many questions were raised which indicated that further research regarding the rural nurses knowledge and attitude towards HIV/AIDS is needed. Nursing practice in the rural selling may have future challenges as the number of HIV/AIDS patients increase. Benner’s (1984) “Novice to Expert” nursing theory was utilized as a conceptual framework in this investigation and was recommended for further research. The need for rural nursing schools to maintain current information is cited in this investigation. The increasing number of HIV/AIDS patients in the rural setting makes it essential that rural nurses have adequate knowledge as well as a positive attitude toward HIV/AIDS. If society is to provide equitable care to all people, it becomes a critical issue in rural health care to adequately educate health care providers. Further research is needed that determines if an educational intervention would improve knowledge and attitudes of rural nurses regarding HIV/AIDS.


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Copyright 2001 Sheila Rae Preedy

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