Thesis

The relationship between the nutrition knowledge and attitudes of student nurses

The purpose of the study was to determine if there was a positive relationship between nursing students' knowledge of normal and therapeutic nutrition and their attitudes toward normal nutrition, therapeutic nutrition, the nurses' role in nutrition education, and nutrition in the nursing curricula. The subject population was composed of 39 nursing students (1 male, 38 females) ranging in age from 20 to 52 years, with a mean age of 28 years. The students' normal nutrition knowledge was measured with the National League for Nursing's Normal Nutrition aptitude test. The therapeutic nutrition knowledge was measured with the National League for Nursing's Diet Therapy and Applied Nutrition aptitude test. An adaptation of the Nutrition Attitude Scale developed by Lohr and Carruth (1979) was used to measure the students’ attitudes toward nutrition. Correlation coefficients were computed between the nutrition knowledge and attitude subscores and total scores. The findings supported the hypothesis that there is a positive correlation between the nutrition knowledge and attitudes of nursing students. Normal nutrition knowledge and total nutrition attitudes were positively correlated (r = .384; p< .05) as well as therapeutic nutrition knowledge and total nutrition attitudes (r = .511; p<.001). Statistically significant correlations were found between (1) the "Nutrition in Nursing Curricula" attitude subscale and the Normal Nutrition knowledge score (r = .310; p<.05) and (2) the "Nurse as a Nutrition Educator" attitude subscale and the Diet Therapy and Applied Nutrition knowledge score (r = .523; p<.001). These findings imply that those students possessing a greater knowledge of nutrition also have more positive attitudes toward nutrition and perhaps will strive to provide the most accurate nutrition education possible to their clients.

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