Document Type


Publication Date


Publication Title

Journal of Georgia Public Health Association


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.


Copyright Statement:

All articles are open-access distributed under the terms of the: Creative Commons Attribution NonCommercial No-Derivatives License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work ("first published in the Journal of the Georgia Public Health Association…") is properly cited with original URL and bibliographic citation information. The complete bibliographic information, a link to the original publication on, as well as this copyright and license information must be included. Authors are allowed to hold the copyright without restrictions.

All content is freely available without charge to the user or his/her institution. Users are allowed to read, download, copy, distribute, print, search, or link to the full texts of the articles, or use them for any other lawful purpose, without asking prior permission from the publisher or the author. Authors retain control over the integrity of their work and the right to be properly acknowledged and cited.