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Relationship Between Nurses Qualifications and Their Skills in Early Detection of High Blood Pressure in Primary Health Care Centres in Delta State, Nigeria

Author(s): M.I. Ofili

Journal: Asian Journal of Medical Sciences
ISSN 2040-8765

Volume: 4;
Issue: 5;
Start page: 156;
Date: 2012;
Original page

Keywords: Blood pressure | hypertension | nurses | patients | qualification | skills

This study is aimed at assessing nurses’ skills in screening and early detection of high blood pressure with a view to determining its relationship to their qualifications in primary health care centres in Delta State. Nurses are often engaged in the prevention of chronic diseases like hypertension in primary health care settings. However, information about their skills in screening and early detection of high blood pressure in South-South Nigeria are scarce. Therefore this research attempts to assess nurses’ skills and procedures of measuring and detecting the early stage of hypertension. The observed skills were compared with their professional qualifications. An observational checklist was used to assess their skills in blood pressure measurement, history taking, physical examination and investigation as recommended by the Nurses Hypertension Association (NHA). Blood pressure was measured using a mercury sphygmomanometer by eighty-five participating nurses chosen from the twenty-nine randomly selected primary health care centres from the twenty-five local government areas in Delta State. The results show that 77% of the nurses were found to be good in blood pressure measurement and 67% were good in investigation. Fifty-three percent (53%) were found to be good in history taking and 63% in physical examination. Furthermore, results showed that skills in blood pressure assessment were dependent on professional qualifications. Overall, most of the nurses had no training in the management of hypertension and did not make use of the NHA guidelines. These indicate the need for facilities to organize training courses on hypertension management for nurses. It would also be beneficial to include new trends in nursing education. The NHA guidelines would need to be introduced to students while in school.
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