Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)




Bloodborne pathogens have received increasing attention since Acguired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS) became known in the United States. Until that time, antibiotics, immunizations, and increasingly sophisticated infection control practices had markedly decreased health care workers' occupational risk for contraction of bloodborne and other infectious diseases. From a nursing education perspective, it was important to ascertain knowledge deficits students have related to caring for clients infected with Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) and the Hepatitis B Virus (HBV).

Therefore, the purposes of this study were to compare sophomore and senior nursing students relative to: a) their knowledge of bloodborne pathogens (particularly HIV and HBV) including universal precautions, and b) their perception of safety in practice. Orem's Self-Care Deficit Theory was the theoretical framework for this study. A guestionnaire originally developed by Burtis and Evangelisti (1992) and revised by the author was used to collect data.

No significant (0.05 level) differences were found between sophomore and senior students relative to knowledge subscales in the guestionnaire. However, seniors scored significantly higher in perception of safety in practice than did the sophomores on subscales relating to HIV and HBV. Results of this study may have significance for future undergraduate nursing curriculum planning.