Health Literacy Competencies for Registered Nurses: An E-Delphi Study
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In the United States, only 12% of adults possess proficient health literacy skills. Individuals with low health literacy skills experience poorer health outcomes. Failure of registered nurses to consider health literacy in communication with patients can significantly affect an individual’s ability to understand and therefore, follow health advice. The Institute of Medicine’s (IOM) Health Literacy: A Prescription to End Confusion (2004) landmark report recommends that health professionals be trained to effectively communicate with patients with limited health literacy. There is an absence of nurse competencies that explicitly address the needs of patients with low health literacy. Therefore the purpose of this study was to identify a set of core health literacy competencies for registered nurses in any work setting. A three round e-Delphi design was used to elicit essential health literacy competencies for registered nurses with a national group of nurse health literacy experts (n=41). Based on partial replication of prior work by Coleman, Hudson, and Maine (2013), a final list of 50 nursing health literacy core competencies were identified in round two. Descriptive statistics were used to analyze data. A competency that reached 90% agreement in round two was retained. The remaining competencies were then prioritized in round three. The final list of prioritized competencies generated in this study, can provide a starting point for enhancement of health literacy educational content in practice and schools of nursing.
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