School nurses’ knowledge of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) has not been evaluated. We aimed to investigate school nurses’ knowledge of IBD and determine whether education could improve this knowledge.
School nurses were invited to complete self-reported questionnaires on IBD. Then, IBD specialists from tertiary referral hospitals provided a 60-minute lecture with educational brochures on two occasions, with a 3-month interval. Within 6 months after the educational interventions, school nurses were asked to complete the same IBD questionnaire via e-mail.
Among 101 school nurses who were invited to participate, 54 nurses (53.5%) who completed two consecutive questionnaires were included in this study (median age, 45 years; range, 25 to 59 years; 100% female); 11.1% and 7.4% of the study participants had no knowledge regarding ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease, respectively. They had heard of IBD most frequently from doctors (33.3%), followed by internet sources (25.9%). After 6 months, the number of nurses who could explain IBD to students with over 30% confidence increased from 24 (44.5%) to 42 (77.8%) (p<0.001). Most nurses (81.5%) reported that the educational intervention was helpful for managing students with abdominal pain or diarrhea. The number of students who received IBD-related welfare services from the Daegu Metropolitan Office of Education doubled when compared with the corresponding number during the prior educational year.
There is room for improvement in school nurses’ knowledge of IBD. A systematic educational program on IBD should be implemented for these nurses.