An Evaluation of the Health Literacy Knowledge and Experience of Registered Nurses in Georgia
Type of Degreedissertation
Education Foundation, Leadership, and Technology
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Health literacy is a critical component of healthcare in America (Parker & Gazmararian, 2004). It is a powerful determinant of health status and mortality (DeWalt, Berkman, Sheridan, Lohr, & Pignone, 2004). Still, nearly half of the U.S. adult population has limited health literacy skills. Numerous studies have been conducted and found that limited health literacy is common among patients from every segment of society (Greenberg, 2001). However, there has been very little research that has evaluated the readiness of healthcare professionals to provide adequate health literacy intervention. A key responsibility of nurses is to provide and promote health information (Dunn, 2010a). But, to this researcher’s knowledge, there has been very little research that examined the extent to which nurses are adequately prepared to provide effective health literacy intervention. This study was an examination of the health literacy knowledge and experience of registered nurses. Participants were selected from the population of registered nurses in Georgia. The Health Literacy Knowledge and Experience (HL-KES) survey, which was developed by Dr. Catherine Cormier (Cormier, 2006), was used to examine the health literacy knowledge and experience of registered nurses who had at least three years of nursing experience and were currently practicing in Georgia. The study also examined the relationship between health literacy knowledge and health literacy experience. The study found that registered nurses in Georgia had some health literacy knowledge and experience. Three of the six basic facts on health literacy items were answered correctly by the majority of participants but three were also answered incorrectly by the majority of participants. Respondents had more health literacy knowledge in the areas of consequences associated with low health literacy and evaluation of health literacy interventions. But, participants had less health literacy knowledge in the areas of health literacy screening and guidelines for written healthcare materials. Participants’ strongest health literacy experience was in using written healthcare materials and videotapes to provide health information. These findings suggest that although registered nurses in Georgia have some health literacy knowledge and experience, they may not be adequately prepared to provide effective health literacy intervention.