Comfort levels of nursing students and faculty regarding clinical assignment to an AIDS patient

Date of Completion

January 2000


Health Sciences, Nursing|Health Sciences, Public Health|Health Sciences, Immunology




In recent years, acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) has become a major public health concern. The communicability of this disease has led health care providers to adopt precautions to prevent occupational exposure to the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). Most educational institutions offer nursing students clinical learning experiences with AIDS patients. A review of the literature suggests that, despite universal precautions, many nursing students are fearful of occupational transmission of HIV and that faculty members may share this concern. It is not known if nursing faculty experience discomfort regarding the supervision of a nursing student caring for an AIDS patient, or if faculty members' level of comfort regarding clinical supervision is similar to the comfort level of students anticipating the delivery of such care. ^ Interpersonal relations theory, adapted for nursing practice by Hildegard Peplau, challenges nurses to engage in introspection. According to this theory, the nurse's awareness of his or her own needs and reactions permits the effective management of one's own behavior. This descriptive correlational study was designed to examine the comfort levels of nursing students and faculty regarding clinical assignment of the student to an AIDS patient requiring commonly performed nursing procedures. Further, the study was designed to determine whether or not the independent variables of age, education or experience reliably predict subjects' levels of comfort. ^ The survey method was utilized. Biographic data were collected from respondents. The comfort levels of nursing students and faculty relative to the clinical assignment of students to an AIDS patient were measured by The Nursing Care Comfort Scale (Williams, Benedict, & Pearson, 1992). Data analysis included descriptive statistics and multiple regression analysis. Results showed that students were less comfortable anticipating the care of an AIDS patient than were faculty members anticipating the supervision of this care. None of the independent variables was found to be a predictor of comfort level for students. For nursing faculty, past experience supervising a student performing nursing procedures with an HIV-positive/AIDS patient was found to be a predictor of comfort level. ^