A study of the nurse as health educator in the modification of health promotion behaviors of hospitalized patients

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Teaching and Leadership


Michael Marge


Health education, Nursing

Subject Categories

Other Education


The effectiveness of hospital nurses as health educators in the modification of health promotion behaviors of hospitalized patients is reported here. The relationship between the interventions by the nurses and the subsequent changes in health behaviors made by patients was examined. Post-hospitalization test scores of patients cared for by seven nurses were compared to the post-hospitalization test scores of patients cared for by these same nurses after they participated in an educational workshop.

In Phase I, medical-surgical nurses' attitudes toward patient education and knowledge of health promotion was assessed. Seven nurses completed an "Intake Questionnaire," a "Health Knowledge Test" and an "Attitude Toward Patient Education" questionnaire. Then hospitalized adult patients (Control Subjects; N = 24) were recruited, completed the Confidential Questionnaire #1 (CQ#1) which contained Healthstyle: A Self-Test, the Multidimensional Health Locus of Control Scale, and demographic questions, and were cared for by the nurses.

Nurses participated in a six-hour health promotion teaching workshop during Phase II. Health promotion content was reviewed, and a patient assessment and intervention was demonstrated. Professionally developed materials were provided for educational interventions with patients.

Phase III included two activities. (1) Adult patients (Experimental Subjects: N = 25) were recruited and completed the CQ#1. Nurses then provided an educational intervention based on the patient's scores. (2) The nurses completed the post-tests and participated in a taped interview.

In Phase IV, which began three months after the patient was inducted into the study, patient subjects were post-tested using the CQ#1 with additional questions to assess their recollection about health promotion education and their compliance with the nurse's recommendations. Five control and five experimental subjects participated in a taped interview.

The data analysis and application of the statistical tests indicated that the nurses' knowledge was not increased by the workshop (McNemar Test), the experimental subjects' post-test lifestyle scores were not greater than control subjects' scores (Sum Rank Test), nor did they report more conversations about health promotion (Chi Square test). The nurses' post-workshop attitudes toward patient education scores were significantly different from their pre-workshop scores (Sign Rank Test 14, $p>$ (S) = 0.02).


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