Survey of Knowledge About Antibiotics and Their Use


Ellen Bivens

Date of Graduation

Spring 2004


Master of Science in Nursing



Committee Chair

Kathryn Hope


Misconceptions on the part of the general public relating to the use of antibiotic medications are assumed to be one of the leading causes for antibiotic resistance. Misconceptions include: taking antibiotics in absence of a bacterial infection, using them to treat a viral infection, not completing the prescribed dose, and saving the remaining antibiotics for future use. Antibiotic resistance occurs when some bacteria survive the antibiotic treatment. The surviving bacteria develop defense mechanisms capable of preventing the therapeutic benefits of that antibiotic (File, 1999). The purpose of this study was to evaluate the level of knowledge relating to the appropriate use of antibiotics. A descriptive cross-sectional design was used for the study. A convenience sample consisted of 100 participants age 18 years or older. Participants included females 70%, males 30%, ranged in age from 20 to 87 years, the majority between the ages of 20 to 39 years (49%), years of education ranged from six to 17 years, and the majority had 12 years of education (48%). The setting for the study was an urgent care clinic located in a rural area. The measurement tool was a self report survey. Participant reporting they had previously heard about antibiotic resistance (46%). The majority of participants had misconceptions about the use of antibiotics for a virus (42%), cold (41%), wheezing (50%), and bronchitis (60%). Many participants said they saved antibiotics for future use (32%) and took antibiotics belonging to someone else (23%). Conclusions of the study indicated that health care providers need to provide education about the appropriate use of antibiotics, antibiotic resistance, and prescribe antibiotics appropriately.

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© Ellen Bivens