A Comparative Analysis of Student and Practising Nurses’ Health Literacy Knowledge in Ghana

Adwoa Owusuaa KODUAH, Padmore Adusei AMOAH*, Jacob Oppong NKANSAH, Angela Y. M. LEUNG

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Journal PublicationsJournal Article (refereed)peer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


This study examined student and practising nurses’ health literacy knowledge, and its correlates in Ghana. It was underpinned by an adapted version of the Institute of Medicine’s (IOM) conceptual framework of health literacy. We used convenience and snowball sampling techniques to collect data from 876 nurses (477 student nurses and 399 practising nurses) in a cross-sectional survey from February 2019 to June 2019. The respondents were drawn from all the former ten administrative regions of Ghana. Approximately 75.4% of the respondents had heard of health literacy. However, health literacy knowledge was generally low (average score of 6.6 out of 20) among both groups, with student nurses (average score of 5.8 out of 20) having significantly lower scores than practising nurses (average score of 7.4 out of 20). Factors associated with health literacy knowledge among student nurses included gender (male, B = −0.499, p < 0.01), trust in others (B = −0.874, p < 0.001), cultural values (B = 0.276, p < 0.001), year of study (B = 0.244, p < 0.05), and frequency of curative care use (B = −0.236, p < 0.05). For practising nurses, trust (B = −1.252, p < 0.01), cultural values (B = 0.357, p < 0.01), and working experience (B = 0.612, p < 0.01) were associated with their health literacy knowledge. Thus, responses targeted at gaps in health literacy knowledge of student and practising nurses must be sensitive to personal characteristics (e.g., gender), social values (e.g., issues of trust, and cultural beliefs and practices), as well as factors relating to nursing education and experience.
Original languageEnglish
Article number38
Number of pages18
Issue number1
Early online date4 Jan 2021
Publication statusPublished - 4 Jan 2021

Bibliographical note

Data collection for this study was funded through the 2018/2019 Research Performance Fund of the Asia Pacific Institute Ageing Studies, Lingnan University, Hong Kong (Fund code 104912). The study also received funding support from Lingnan University through the Lam Woo Research Fund-Individual Grant (Grant code: LWI20014). Both fundings were offered to the second author. The funders had no role in the design of the study; in the collection, analyses, or interpretation of data; in the writing of the manuscript, or in the decision to publish the results.

The Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) of Ghana approved the study protocol (RPN 005/CSIR-IRB/2018). This study was conceived as part of a broader social epidemiological research in Ghana.


  • Ghana
  • Health literacy
  • Health literacy knowledge
  • Nurses
  • Practising nurses
  • Student nurses


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