Nutrition Education Content in Nurse Practitioner Curricula: What are Michigan NP's Learning About Nutrition?
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Background and Purpose: Unhealthy diets are linked to common chronic diseases in the U.S. and Michigan. Healthy People 2020 calls for more nutrition counseling in primary care office visits. The last known survey of nutrition education in nursing graduate programs was published in 2001. This study describes the current state of adult-gerontology nutrition education within primary care nurse practitioner curricula in Michigan.
Methods: Program chairs (or their designees) at the 11 Michigan universities with Adult-Gerontology (AGNP) and/or Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP) programs were asked to complete an anonymous, electronic 21-question survey.?
Conclusions: Six surveys were returned. Respondents, including primarily program directors, indicated that the majority of students receive less than 10 hours of instruction, the majority of which is classroom rather than experiential or clinical. None of the faculty responsible for teaching nutrition content have degrees in nutrition. All of the respondents indicated that nutrition instruction was insufficient.
Implications for Practice: This study identifies a possible gap in the educational preparation of primary care NP graduates to adequately address nutritional issues that underlie many chronic diseases. Additional research is needed.