Lori Kulju

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master Of Science In Nursing

Colleges & School

Ruth S. Coleman College Of Nursing And Health Sciences

First Advisor

Margaret Murphy

Library of Congress Subject Heading

Chemotherapy; Nurses--Attitudes; Antineoplastic agents; Protective clothing


Despite written policies and procedures and readily available personal protective equipment (PPE), studies have reported that many nurses choose not to don the necessary personal protective equipment to minimize their occupational exposure to the harmful effects of antineoplastic drugs. In doing so, nurses put themselves at risk for acute and chronic health effects from occupational exposure. The purpose of this study was to determine if there is a relationship between the chemotherapy nurses' perceived health risk associated with the antineoplastic drug handling and the their self-reported use of personal protective equipment. A descriptive correlational design was used to identify relationships between the five constructs of the Health Belief Model (HBM) and PPE use. Fifty-eight nurses employed by or affiliated with a Midwestern Regional Cancer Center made up the convenience sample. Participants were surveyed using a mailed questionnaire that requested information about nurses' compliance with PPE during antineoplastic drug exposure. The survey consisted of 38 items. Five items determined occupational exposure and training specific to antineoplastic drug handling. Thirty-three items measured the constructs of the HBM using a 5-point Likert scale. Reliability of the tool was (a=.80) with the constructs of Health Motivation, Benefit, and 3 items from the Susceptibility subscale removed. Using Spearman's rho, statistically significant positive relationships (p =< .05) were found between the remaining constructs of Susceptibility, Seriousness, and Barriers. The results of this study indicate that nurses in this study did not perceive themselves to be susceptible to the adverse health effects of antineoplastic drugs nor did they perceive illnesses related to occupational exposure to antineoplastic drugs as serious. Although the small sample size limits the ability to generalize the results beyond this study sample, findings suggest that nurses' perception of barriers to PPE use may be less than reported in previous studies. The results of this study imply that nurses' perceive PPE to decrease their susceptibility and the seriousness of associated illnesses therefore, they perceive fewer barriers to using PPE.


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Nursing Commons