Aims and objectives: To examine the current state of radiation safety education and its influence on nurses’ compliance with safety procedures. Background: Use of radiation in therapy and diagnosis has prolonged and improved millions of lives, but it presents potential hazards for healthcare professionals. Design: A cross-sectional design. Methods: Participants included 1,672 female nurses of childbearing age who had recently been exposed to radiation-emitting generators or radiation. Quantitative data were taken from the Korea Nurses’ Health Study, the Korean version of the Nurses’ Health Study conducted in the USA. Confounding variables included sociodemographic factors, duration of employment in a department where work involved radiation, hospital's geographical location, bed size and hospital safety climate. Statistical analyses included descriptive statistics, Spearman's correlation coefficients and multivariable ordinal logistic regression. Results: Half (50.3%) of nurses received no safety training, whereas the other half received some safety training as follows: only once (14.4%), irregularly (10.2%) and regularly (25.1%). Of the six radioactive safety compliance questionnaires, 29.4%, 20.2%, 30.7% and 19.7% complied to none, one, two and more than three, respectively. After controlling for confounding variables, relative to that observed with no safety education, irregular education that occurred more than twice (OR = 1.597, CI = 1.177–2.164) and regular education (OR = 2.223, CI = 1.770–2.792) increased the likelihood that nurses would comply with safety procedures. Conclusions: Low levels of safety education and adherence raise critical concerns regarding nurses’ well-being. As routine safety education increases safety adherence, healthcare managers and policymakers should emphasise regular safety education. Relevance to clinical practice: Radiation safety education for nurses and their compliance with safety procedures have seldom been discussed in South Korea. However, as nurses’ safety is directly related to the quality of patient care, additional safety education should be provided for hospital nurses to minimise their occupational exposure to harmful radioactive substances in clinical settings.
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