What do health care professionals know about childhood asthma?

R. L. Henry*, C. A. B. Fitzclarence, D. A. Henry, D. Cruickshank

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

22 Citations (Scopus)


The aim of this study was to examine the level of knowledge about childhood asthma in paediatric nurses, pharmacists and general practitioners to assess their potential value as sources of accurate information for patients with asthma. The main outcome measure was the score obtained on an asthma knowledge questionnaire which had been validated previously. The maximum possible score was 31. Eighty‐three general practitioners had a mean score of 28.1 (range 14–31); 82 pharmacists scored a mean of 24.2 (range 15–30) and 30 paediatric nurses had a mean score of 25.5 (range 16–30). General practitioners scored well in most questions but had some worrying deficiencies, particularly in distinguishing preventive therapy from symptom relieving medication. Pharmacists and paediatric nurses had a number of problems in certain important areas. In particular pharmacists as a group were unaware of many of the clinical features of asthma, had misconceptions, such as the need to avoid cow's milk, and recorded incorrect responses to clinical scenarios of acute treatment. Paediatric nurses tended to overestimate the side effects of inhaled medications, and also the value of auscultation. They had poor knowledge of exercise‐induced asthma. The data overall suggest that specific educational strategies should be devised for different groups of health professionals who manage children with asthma and suggest that poor knowledge on the part of health care providers may contribute to morbidity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)32-35
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of Paediatrics and Child Health
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Feb 1993
Externally publishedYes


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