Title

Differences in Health Literacy Knowledge and Experiences among Senior Nursing Students

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

2015

Publication Title

Journal of Georgia Public Health Association

Abstract

Background: Low health literacy has been identified as a significant public health problem. Also, higher expenditures due to longer hospital stays have been reported for persons with low health literacy. Nurses can assist patients with low health literacy to reduce their hospital stays and increase compliance with discharge instructions.

Methods: A quantitative, descriptive research design was employed to assess knowledge and experiences of 192 senior nursing students. These students were administered the Health Literacy Knowledge and Experiences Survey (HL-KES), a 2- part survey that included assessment of knowledge about health literacy and experience in working with populations of low health literacy. Additional questions to assist in describing the sample population were included. Analysis of variance (ANOVA) and post-hoc tests were used to measure differences.

Results: The results reveal that, at this point in their nursing education, senior nursing students lack health literacy knowledge and experiences. Statistically significant differences were found for health literacy knowledge among participants in the same program and for those enrolled at different program sites. Differences were found for health literacy experiences among participants, but these were not statistically significant due to unequal sample sizes between BSN and RN to BSN, and LPN/LVN to BSN participants.

Conclusions: Regardless of program site, senior nursing students have some health literacy knowledge, but gaps exist. Mean scores for health literacy knowledge varied for participants and as a whole for program sites. Thus, differences in health literacy knowledge are most likely the result of how health literacy is addressed by different programs.