Date of Conferral
Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP)
Low health literacy levels put patients at greater risk for poorer compliance and access to care, which leads to worse patient outcomes. Nurses must understand health literacy to improve health literacy for their medical surgical patient population. It is necessary for a formal education program on this topic. The purpose of this project was to increase medical surgical nurses' awareness and knowledge of the importance of health literacy and to introduce the REALM-SF tool to assess a patient's literacy level, allowing a nurse to better individualize the education provided to the patient. Lewin's change management theory was key in the development of this project with attention to his three stages of change acceptance. The practice focus question was, "Will medical-surgical nurses show an improvement in their knowledge of health literacy when comparing measurement of knowledge pre education and immediately post education?" The HL-SF12 for registered nurses tool was used to collect data for this project as a pre- and post-implementation knowledge assessment. Thirty-one medical surgical nurses participated in this education session. The results of this analysis show that there is a significant gap in medical-surgical nurses' knowledge of health literacy. However, all participates showed a significant increase in their scores from pretest to posttest after the educational module, which signifies that this education program was successful. Assessing health literacy is a major step towards improving the delivery of patient education by nurses and assists the patients in the management of their medical problems. All of this leads to positive social change by making sure that the education provided by the nurses is understood and received well by the patients and their families.