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Nurse Practitioner Student Knowledge and Attitudes Toward Skin Cancer Assessments

Woodmansee, Ryan; Turnage, Dawn; Loerzel, Victoria

Journal of the Dermatology Nurses' Association: March/April 2018 - Volume 10 - Issue 2 - p 115–119
doi: 10.1097/JDN.0000000000000385

ABSTRACT Early detection and treatment of skin cancer is directly related to patient outcomes. However, little is known about how prepared nurse practitioner students are to assess and manage skin lesions. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to assess nurse practitioner student knowledge to determine how well they are being prepared to perform skin cancer assessments. This exploratory, descriptive study surveyed 20 nurse practitioner students about their knowledge, attitudes, and confidence in identifying different skin lesions. Most participants had average knowledge scores related to general skin cancer knowledge (6.4/13 correct) and photo lesion identification (9.65/20 correct). Most students felt they lacked enough dermatology training to prepare them for practice. Most students did not feel confident performing skin cancer assessments, had a hard time differentiating between benign and malignant lesions, and would rather refer patients to a specialist for diagnosis. Nurse practitioner curricula should consider allotting more time for dermatology topics, especially learning to recognize whether a lesion is benign or malignant.

Ryan Woodmansee, BSN, RN, University of Florida College of Nursing, Gainesville, FL.

Dawn Turnage, DNP, ARNP, FNP-BC, University of Central Florida College of Nursing, Orlando, FL.

Victoria Loerzel, PhD, RN, OCN, University of Central Florida College of Nursing, Orlando, FL.

Source of funding: College of Nursing Honors-In-The-Major Grant Program.

The authors declare no conflict of interest.

Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to Ryan Woodmansee, BSN, RN, 4441 NE 25th Avenue, Lighthouse Point, FL 33064. E-mail:

Copyright © 2018 by the Dermatology Nurses' Association.