COVID-19 and University Students

When COVID-19 started spreading in Palestine, and the Palestinian Prime Minister announced the coronavirus lockdown, Dr. Hanan Saca-Hazboun, Assistant Professor in the Tarek Juffali Faculty of Nursing and Health Science, teamed up with Dr. Ahmed Fasfous, Assistant Professor in the Faculty of Arts, and Mr. Fadel Sawayfa, Lecturer in the Faculty of Education, to investigate the “Knowledge, attitudes and practices of Palestinian university students towards COVID-19”.

The team conducted an electronic survey in which a sample of 880 students from Bethlehem University and the Arab American University in Jenin participated. The results of the survey indicated that the majority of the students had good knowledge about COVID-19 causes, and ways of prevention. On the other hand, they had poor knowledge about the signs and symptoms of the disease, and about the incubation period of the virus.

The survey showed that the students had positive attitudes towards the Palestinian government control of the pandemic. It also showed that around 62% of them were uncomfortable when thinking of COVID-19 and 40.5% stopped enjoying what they were doing when they thought of the virus.

The team held an inferential analysis to compare the groups of students and make generalizations about the larger population. For example, the results showed that second year students had better knowledge than first year students; and that science students had better knowledge than art students.

The results of the research are expected to help plan awareness campaigns to improve the population’s best practices to prevent COVID-19 from spreading more, and also to bring attention to assess the students’ mental health during this exceptional period.

Dr. Saca-Hazboun is also working on another research project related to the COVID-19 vaccine. She teamed up with professional members in different institutions in Palestine to investigate “the population’s knowledge and attitude towards COVID-19 vaccination”. This research is still in its early stages and will be conducted virtually as well.

As an educator and a nurse, Dr. Saca-Hazboun’s philosophy was inspired by the words of Khalil Gibran to “think positively, no matter how hard life is. Give much if you’ve been given little.”

Dr. Hanan Saca-Hazboun received her Ph.D. in Nursing Education from
Villanova University, U.S.A., in 2017. She graduated from Bethlehem University in 1985 and returned as a lecturer in 1996. She is an Assistant Professor in the Tarek Juffali Faculty of Nursing and Health Science. She lectures in the undergraduate nursing program and embraces students to be the best nurses. She also teaches in the Master in Oncology and Palliative Care Nursing program at Bethlehem University and teaches in the Oncology Master program at Birzeit University. She is a member of many professional organizations. Her main research interests are to explore the knowledge and attitude of women towards breast cancer screening, and palliative care.

This article appeared in the Bethlehem University magazine of Fall 2020 (Volume 28, Issue no. 1, pp. 16) Click here for the latest issue.

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