Factors explaining variability in health literacy outcomes of public health nursing clients

Karen A. Monsen, Snigdhansu B. Chatterjee, Jill E. Timm, J. Kay Poulsen, Diane B. Mcnaughton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


Objectives: To evaluate variability in health literacy outcomes due to home visiting (HV) program components including PHN, Intervention, and Client. Design and Sample: A comparative, correlational study evaluated PHN home visiting program data that included PHNs (N = 16); Interventions (N = 21,634); and Clients (N = 141). Client age ranged from 14 to 46 (median = 21, mean = 22.8, SD = 6.65). Clients were predominately White (75.9%), not married (84.4%), and female (99.3%). PHNS documented care using electronic health records (EHR) and the Omaha System. Measures: The outcome of interest was health literacy benchmark attainment (adequate knowledge) operationalized by Omaha System Problem Rating Scale for Outcomes Knowledge scores averaged across problems. Intervention: Program of individually tailored, evidence-based HV interventions provided by PHNs. Results: There were 233 different interventions for 22 problems. Knowledge benchmark was attained by 16.3% of clients. Four factors explained variance in reaching the knowledge benchmark: Client (51%), Problem (17%), Intervention (16%), and PHN (16%). Conclusions: The PHN and intervention tailoring are actionable components of HV programs that explain variability in health literacy outcomes. Further research should examine effects of training on PHN relationship skills and intervention tailoring to optimize outcomes of evidence-based PHN HV programs, and to evaluate whether improving health literacy may subsequently improve client problems.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)94-100
Number of pages7
JournalPublic Health Nursing
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 1 2015

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2014 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.


  • Health disparities
  • Health literacy
  • Home visiting
  • Informatics
  • Interventions
  • Omaha system
  • Outcomes
  • Public health nursing


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