AIDS attitudinal comparison between urban and rural perioperative registered nurses

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Fawcett, Debra L.
Irvine, Phyllis E.
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Thesis (M.S.)
School of Nursing
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Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS) is primarily identified as a metropolitan disease. However, it has suggested that the Centers for Disease Control may underestimate the prevalence of AIDS in the population of higher socioeconomic status, overstate the relative prevalence of AIDS in the minorities, and understate the prevalence of the disease in the Midwest (Laumann, Gagnon, Michaels, Michael, & Coleman, 1989). The problem addressed in this study was to determine whether groups of urban and rural perioperative registered nurses differ in their attitudes of tolerance toward AIDS patients. The attitudes of rural and urban perioperative nurses were examined in a comparative descriptive design. It is important to identify nurses' attitudes toward AIDS patients because nurses must interact with AIDS patients on an increasing basis.Lazarus and Folkman's (1984) Theory of Cognitive Emotion was used for the framework. A convenience sample of 77 perioperative registered nurses was obtained for the study. Five midwestern hospitals were used to collect the data. Two urban hospitals and three rural hospitals were used as collection sites. The AIDS Attitudes Scale (AAS) was used as the tool to collect the data (Shrum, Turner, and Bruce, 1989). The AAS consists of a fifty-four item questionnaire designed to measure attitudinal tolerance towards the AIDS patient. Validity and reliability of the tool were established with a resulting reliability score of .94.Findings revealed significant differences among urban and rural perioperative registered nurses in attitudes toward AIDS patients (p=.0387), with urban perioperative nurses being more tolerant of AIDS patients. Item-by-item analysis indicated that although urban perioperative nurses were more tolerant, an urban perioperative nurse would be more uncomfortable around a patient with AIDS (p=.0082). However, more rural perioperative nurses indicated that they would move out if a roommate had AIDS (p=.0030). Rural perioperative nurses indicated more often that no one deserved to have a disease like AIDS (p=.0057). Demographic profiles of registered perioperative nurses demonstrated similar backgrounds in relation to age, educational level, and gender.Conclusions of this study indicated urban perioperative registered nurses hold more tolerant attitudes toward HIV/AIDS patients than do rural perioperative registered nurses.