OBJECTIVES: To assess the knowledge of unintentional injury epidemiology, the attitudes towards, and current practices in injury prevention among practice nurses. SETTING: Practice nurses employed by general practitioners in Nottinghamshire, United Kingdom. METHOD: A postal questionnaire was sent to all practice nurses on the Family Health Services Authority list (n = 322) with questions covering sociodemographic details, occupational details, unintentional injury epidemiology, attitudes towards the injury prevention activities suggested by a government report as part of the role of the primary health care team, and current practices in injury prevention. RESULTS: A response rate of 71.1% was achieved. More than 50% knew that unintentional injuries were the most common cause of death in childhood. A similar per cent knew the site of most fatal injuries in the under 1 and 5-16 year age groups. More than two thirds correctly identified a range of risk factors for unintentional injury. However, only two fifths of nurses believed they could be effective in preventing injuries. There were considerable gaps between attitudes and practice for most activities. The activities most commonly undertaken include displaying posters and leaflets (69.4%), giving advice on prevention (51.1%), and advice on first aid (45.0%) during injury consultations. CONCLUSIONS: Most practice nurses hold positive attitudes towards injury prevention activities, but fewer undertake these activities regularly. The activities most commonly undertaken employ an educational model. Further research is needed on the barriers to practice nurses undertaking more injury prevention work, the effectiveness of systems to overcome such barriers, and the effectiveness of these injury prevention activities.
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