Venetia-Sofia Velonaki, Ph.D., Georgios Kampouroglou, Ph.D.(c), Martha Velonaki, Konstantina Dimakopoulou, Ph.D.(c), Panayiota Sourtzi, Ph.D., Athena Kalokerinou, Ph.D.
Deaf sign language users experience severe health disparities which could be decreased with the modification of some factors associated with health professionals’ attitudes, knowledge and behaviors. Relevant research referring to nurses is almost inexistent.
This study aimed to examine Greek nurses’ knowledge, attitudes and practices toward Deaf people and determine the factors that influence these parameters.
The sample consisted of 200 randomly selected nurses working in 2 public hospitals and 2 public health centers in Attica, Greece. Data was collected from November 2010 to May 2011, using a questionnaire inquiring for demographics, previous contact with Deaf people or other people with disabilities, relevant education, practices, feelings and self-efficacy for caring for Deaf patients, knowledge and attitudes toward them and interest in being educated in such issues.
A lack of relevant knowledge and education was observed. Relevant education was found to be positively correlated with knowledge (rho = 0.225, p = 0.003). Self-efficacy was found to be positively correlated with the contact with Deaf people score (rho = 0.358, p < 0.001). The participants who have avoided caring for Deaf patients had a statistically significantly lower mean score of self-efficacy (p < 0.001). No correlation was found between the contact and knowledge scores and between relevant education or contact and attitudes. The majority (64.8%) were interested in attending a relevant educational program.
Our findings support that appropriate educational programs, including contact with Deaf people, could contribute to the improvement of nurses’ knowledge and behavior toward Deaf people and would be welcomed by the majority.