Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Philosophy (Ph.D)


Education Specialties

First Advisor

Michael R. Sampson

Second Advisor

Joseph C. Rumenapp


Proper nutrition is essential to the prevention of chronic diseases such as cancer, heart disease, and diabetes. It is also important during the recovery period from disease as well as in the maintenance of general good health. In many health care settings, nurses are the initial health care provider with whom patients have contact. All forms of literacy require a solid foundation in fundamental literacy concepts that must be reinforced to fully develop content-specific literacy, such as nutrition literacy. Nutrition literacy is defined as the extent to which nutrition information is acquired, processed, comprehended, and applied in ways that benefit human health. Nurses are integral members of the health care team and should receive proper nutrition education. In light of the key role nutrition plays in health and disease, it is imperative during the early assessment of patients to properly evaluate them with consideration of their nutritional health. Accordingly, nurses should have a solid foundation in fundamental literacy concepts as well as nutrition literacy and possess and understand both fundamental and advanced nutrition concepts and be able to communicate this information to patients. The purpose of this qualitative transcendental phenomenological study was to explore prospective nursing students’ perceptions of the importance of nutrition literacy related to the field of nursing and whether they would be sufficiently prepared to address nutrition issues in a clinical setting. All participants were seeking admission to a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) program that would result in eligibility for registered nurse (RN) certification. A semi-structured interview protocol involving the incorporation of open-ended questions was employed to collect information regarding the participants’ life experiences with nutrition and nursing. Additionally, a questionnaire was used to collect participant demographic information. The findings of the study indicate prospective nursing students believe nutrition is a vital component of health care delivery and should be an integral part of nutrition education to prepare nutritionally-literate nurses for clinical practice.

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