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Knowledge, Attitudes, and Behaviors of Nursing and Midwifery Students Regarding Breast Self-Examination in Turkey

Sakine Memis
Nevin Akdolun Balkaya
Fatma Demirkiran
ONF 2009, 36(1), E39-E46 DOI: 10.1188/09.ONF.E39-E46

Purpose/Objectives: To investigate knowledge, attitudes, and behaviors of nursing and midwifery students regarding breast self-examination (BSE).

Design: Descriptive, cross-sectional.

Setting: Aydin School of Health at Adnan Menderes University in Aydin, Turkey.

Sample: 244 female students of nursing and midwifery.

Methods: Data were collected with a questionnaire.

Main Research Variables: BSE-related knowledge, attitudes, and behaviors.

Findings: More than half of the study participants stated they had sufficient information about BSE from varied sources, primarily from school curricula. The students were knowledgeable about who should perform BSE and its recommended frequency; however, their knowledge of BSE techniques was limited. First-year students had negative attitudes about BSE but became more positive as they progressed in their education. Half of the study sample stated they performed BSE at recommended times and intervals, but only one-fifth used recommended BSE positions and techniques. The main reasons for not performing BSE included not knowing how to perform it (57%), not having any history of problems in the breast (39%), and forgetfulness (18%).

Conclusions: The results demonstrate that nursing and midwifery education has a positive effect on students' knowledge, attitudes, and behaviors regarding BSE.

Implications for Nursing: The findings suggest that nursing and midwifery students should be thoroughly prepared to perform BSE on themselves so they can educate other women about this important preventive procedure.

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