Australian student nurse's knowledge of and attitudes toward primary health care: A cross-sectional study

Sandra Mackey, Cannas Kwok, Judith Anderson, Deborah Hatcher, Sharon Laver, Cathy Dickson, Lyn Stewart

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Nurses have a pivotal role in changing the focus of the health system toward a primary health care approach, yet little is known about the effectiveness of nursing students' educational preparation for this role. Objectives: The aim of the study was to investigate undergraduate Australian nursing students' knowledge of and attitudes toward the primary health care approach. Design: A cross-sectional, descriptive research design was applied.Setting: Two Australian universities, one with a rural base and one in the metropolitan area of Sydney, were involved. Both universities offer undergraduate and postgraduate nursing courses on multiple campuses.Participants: A convenience sample of 286 undergraduate nursing students, each of whom had completed a unit of study on PHC. All provided consent to participate in the study. Methods: Data was collected using the Primary Health Care Questionnaire via online survey platform Survey Monkey for a period of three weeks in June 2015. Results: Total knowledge scores ranged from 19.68 to 95.78 with the mean knowledge score being 69.19. Total attitude scores ranged from 33.12 to 93.88 with a mean score of 70.45. Comparison of knowledge scores showed mean scores of students born in Australia were significantly higher than those of students who were born overseas (p =0.01), and mean scores of students enrolled in the metropolitan university were also significantly higher than mean scores of students' enrolled in the rural university (p= 0.002). In terms of attitudes scores, mean scores of Australian-born students were significantly higher than those of students born overseas (p=0.001), and older students' mean attitude scores were shown to be significantly higher than younger students' (p < 0.005).
Conclusions: Student's age, country of origin and university location were shown to be significant influences on student's knowledge of and attitudes toward primary health care.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)127-132
Number of pages6
JournalNurse Education Today
Early online dateOct 2017
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2018


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