Nurses’ knowledge of chronic disease management

  • S Naidoo
  • OH Mahomed
  • S Asmall
  • M Taylor


Background: Chronic diseases of lifestyle are detrimentally affecting South Africans. National Health Insurance, which is intended to improve care, requires capacity building for nurses at primary care clinics to ensure appropriate service provision.
Objective: This study’s objective was to evaluate the impact of the ‘Primary Care 101’ chronic disease management guideline and training on nurses’ knowledge of chronic diseases management.
Method: A population-based, unblinded, stratified cluster randomised controlled trial with intervention (n = 20) and control clinics (n = 10) in three South African districts was conducted over six months in 2012. Nurses in the clinics participated in surveying knowledge on management of tuberculosis, human immunodeficiency virus infection, mental health, epilepsy, diabetes, hypertension and asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). All nurses were surveyed at baseline and six months later. Intervention clinic nurses were also surveyed immediately after training and three months post-training. Data were analysed using SPSS version 19 (SPSS Inc., Chicago, IL).Total mean knowledge  percentage scores were calculated for each chronic disease. Mean  knowledge percentage score changes between baseline and six months amongst all nurses and between intervention and control clinic nurses were compared using the paired samples t-test and independent samples t-test
Results: There were significant improvements in nurses’ knowledge of hypertension and diabetes management over six months. Knowledge about asthma and COPD management decreased in all districts and nurse categories.
Conclusion: The improvements in nurses’ knowledge can ensure improved patient management, but attention to asthma and COPD management is required.

Journal Identifiers

eISSN: 2071-9736
print ISSN: 1025-9848