Learned Experiences of HIV Specialty Nurses: Exploring and Identifying Successful Learning Strategies

Wednesday, 15 July 2009: 1:45 PM

Alma I. Vega, EdD, ARNP-BC
School of Nursing, University of Miami, Hollywood, FL

Learning Objective 1: discuss the growing trend of HIV infection among adolescents and the need to develop sound educational programs for safe patient care.

Learning Objective 2: identify successful learning strategies and use the Pediatric HIV Tool to determine their self-efficacy on Pediatric HIV.

Purpose: The nursing shortage has resulted in non-HIV specialized nurses caring for HIV positive patients. Little documentation exists on the competency of nurses caring for HIV positive patients, vital for safe patient care. The purpose of the mixed-methods study was to determine the extent of HIV content that HIV-experienced nurses have learned as well as to explore effective learning strategies such as the use of mentors, clinical experiences, and role modeling.

Methods: This mixed study examined the extent of learned HIV content and learning strategies of HIV-experienced nurses. The content learned and the self-reported learning strategies were measured by a Pediatric HIV Test (PHT), triangulated with a pediatric course taught for re-licensure in Florida. The research questions addressed specifically the comparison of knowledge between community-based and hospital-based nurses.

A chi-square test and a Z test were used for the responses received from the quantitative component, and a t test and F test were used for Question 27.


The entire probability tests were greater than p < 0.5 therefore the null hypothesis (H10) was accepted. Hospital and community-based nurses in Florida do not differ in their learning needs on HIV content as measured by the PHT.

The results obtained from a sample of 84 HIV experienced nurses indicated that there were no differences in the extent of learning among the community and hospital-based nurses. Axial coding of the learning strategies revealed seven concepts congruent with Bandura’s theory on self-efficacy of modeled behaviors found in clinical practice.

Conclusion: Determining the content learned by nurses will provide an avenue for further research on the development of a HIV core curriculum to assist nurses, given the nursing shortage. The PHT served as a useful tool for measuring competency in knowledge.