Don't burn the baby: advice from Australian nurses recommending therapeutic sun-exposure during infancy

Harrison, Simone Lee, Nikles, Jane, and Nowak, Madeleine (2013) Don't burn the baby: advice from Australian nurses recommending therapeutic sun-exposure during infancy. Open Journal of Preventative Medicine, 3 (2). pp. 212-218.

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Abstract

Background: Previous studies have demonstrated inappropriate advice from health professionals advocating therapeutic sun exposure during infancy and the post-partum period. This study examines the proportion of Australian midwives and related hospital nursing staff who recommend therapeutic sun exposure during this period.

Methods: Questionnaires were completed by 363 Australian nurses (57.2% response) responsible for nursing post-partum women in 11 maternity hospitals in Queensland (QLD) and the Australian Capital Territory (ACT). Results: Many nurses believed sun exposure was beneficial in treating: cracked nipples (QLD 41.3%, ACT 65.8%; p < 0.001), neonatal jaundice (QLD 49.6%, ACT 75.3%; p < 0.001), nappy rash (QLD 23.2%, ACT 30.3%; p = 0.207) and acne (QLD 12.3%, ACT 16.9%; p = 0.291) and made recommendations consistent with their beliefs. Relatively few nurses stipulated sunning through glass or specified exposure time limits. Nursing staff from public hospitals in QLD, but not the ACT, were more likely than nurses from private hospitals to hold one or more such beliefs (p = 0.008). Approximately 40% of respondents thought people generally looked healthier with a suntan; 79% of this group also held one or more risky beliefs about therapeutic sun exposure (p = 0.043).

Conclusion: A high proportion of these nurses held risky beliefs about the beneficial uses of sunlight for post-partum women and their infants and made recommendations consistent with their beliefs. Professional education is needed to change the beliefs and practices of nursing staff about intentional sun exposure of women and their babies to reduce their long-term skin cancer risk, particularly as Australia has such a high prevalence of skin cancer.

Item ID: 31343
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 2162-2485
Keywords: therapeutic sun exposure, nursing staff, midwives, beliefs, practices, skin cancer prevention
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An abstract of this article has previously been published as: Harrison, Simone, and Nikles, Jane (2012) Don't burn the baby: advice from Australian nurses recommending therapeutic sun exposure during infancy. Annals of the ACTM, 13 (2). p. 30. (See related URL).

Copyright © 2013 Simone Lee Harrison et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Funders: Queensland Health, Parkes Bequest
Date Deposited: 13 Feb 2014 01:07
FoR Codes: 11 MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES > 1117 Public Health and Health Services > 111706 Epidemiology @ 34%
11 MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES > 1117 Public Health and Health Services > 111799 Public Health and Health Services not elsewhere classified @ 33%
11 MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES > 1117 Public Health and Health Services > 111716 Preventive Medicine @ 33%
SEO Codes: 92 HEALTH > 9204 Public Health (excl. Specific Population Health) > 920499 Public Health (excl. Specific Population Health) not elsewhere classified @ 50%
92 HEALTH > 9204 Public Health (excl. Specific Population Health) > 920412 Preventive Medicine @ 50%
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