Awareness, Knowledge, and Practices Regarding Occupational Hazards Among Medical Students: A Longitudinal Study Before and After Admission as Trainees

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The aim of this study was to evaluate changes in knowledge, attitude, and preventive practices of students regarding occupational hazards before and after entering clinical training.


A self-administered questionnaire was used to follow up a cohort of Belgian medical students in 2014 and 2015. Inquiries about students’ characteristics, awareness, knowledge, and practices of protective measures were included. Descriptive and multivariable analyses were performed.


Overall, 249 (94%) students completed the preclinical questionnaire and 147 (56%) responded on both occasions. Our findings revealed that student awareness and knowledge scores were inadequate but increased after admission as trainees. Students with an accidental blood contact (n = 43) showed no better knowledge of postexposure management than those without such an incident.


The observed lack of awareness and knowledge regarding occupational hazards among students provides an opportunity to improve basic education and training environments.

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