Date of Conferral







Mary Martin


Health literacy is important to ensuring patients have the necessary knowledge and skills needed to actively participate as a member of their own healthcare team. Patients with low health literacy are at increased risk for poor outcomes and limited participation in decisions affecting their health or treatment plan. Using the Social Ecological Model (SEM) as a framework, the purpose of this study was to determine the relationship between medical-surgical registered nurses, medical-surgical patients and the registered nurse’s (RN) assessment of their patient’s health literacy of those who live in a rural-border region. The study’s sample consisted of 84 pairs of medical-surgical patients who were alert and oriented and had received care from a medical-surgical RN for a minimum of 6 hours. Using correlation and regression testing, the results showed that RNs tend to overestimate their patient’s health literacy abilities. It was also noted that in the absence of a health literacy assessment tool, the patient’s education level is a significant predictor of their health literacy level. This study contributes to positive social change as it provides additional evidence of health care provider’s inability to accurately identify patient health literacy levels in the absence of a standardized assessment tool while also contributing to a better understanding of health literacy in minority populations. Future study could focus on examining other acute settings, such as in the maternal child specialty area or the emergency department and consider the acute status of the patients within the targeted healthcare settings and their ability to participate in the data collection phase of the study

Available for download on Wednesday, June 09, 2021