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Health Literacy and Nursing: An Update

Dickens, Carolyn MSN, NP; Piano, Mariann R. PhD, RN, FAAN

AJN, American Journal of Nursing: June 2013 - Volume 113 - Issue 6 - p 52–57
doi: 10.1097/01.NAJ.0000431271.83277.2f
Feature Articles

Health literacy refers to a patient's knowledge and skill in making informed health care decisions. Low health literacy is associated with poor health outcomes that nurses have the potential to affect. Screening tools are available to assess a patient's health literacy, but not all are easy to use. Recently health literacy experts have recommended that all patients be treated as if they have low health literacy. The authors review the recent definitions and dimensions of health literacy, the prevalence and characteristics of patients with low health literacy, and strategies nurses can use in clinical settings.

A review of the recent definitions and dimensions of health literacy, the prevalence and characteristics of patients with low health literacy, and strategies nurses can use in clinical settings.

Carolyn Dickens is a cardiology NP at the University of Illinois Hospital and Health Sciences System, Chicago. Mariann R. Piano is a professor and department head at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) College of Nursing. The authors thank Kevin Grandfield, publication manager at the UIC Department of Biobehavioral Health Science, for editorial assistance. Contact author: Carolyn Dickens, cdickens@uic.edu. The authors have disclosed no potential conflicts of interest, financial or otherwise.

© 2013 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.