Health literacy training for public health nurses in Fukushima: A case-study of program adaptation, implementation and evaluation

Aya Goto, Rima E. Rudd, Alden Yuanhong Lai, Hiromi Yoshida-Komiya

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Health literacy comprises not only an individual’s ability to gain access to, understand and use health information, but also health care providers’ ability to make health information accessible and usable. The Fukushima nuclear accident has posed challenges related to the communication of radiation-related health information. Public health nurses are gatekeepers of community health in Japan, and have primary responsibility for communicating this complex information about science and risk to lay members of the community. A health literacy training program was designed to augment communication skills of participating nurses with two primary goals: changing communication practices and norms among public health nurses, and improving access to information for community residents. Training content incorporated an overview of health literacy skills (including numeracy), processes for assessing written materials and visual displays, as well as guidelines for text improvement. The workshop was spread across two days with two-hour sessions each day. A proximal post-training evaluation survey was conducted, followed by a more distal one-month follow-up evaluation to assess the application of learned skills in practice. Twenty-six nurses in Fukushima City attended the first trial. Post-training evaluations were highly positive, with agreement from 85-100% of participants on the appropriateness and usefulness of the workshop. During a one-month follow-up, the nurses reported applying new knowledge and skills to develop written materials. However, they faced difficulties sharing their new skills with colleagues and challenges changing work norms. Participants also encountered difficulties using graphics and explaining risks in practice. This paper highlights the importance of providing health literacy training opportunities for professionals to strengthen health system’s ability to accessible information and services. This program also serves as important reference for future disaster management efforts.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)146-153
Number of pages8
JournalJapan Medical Association Journal
Volume57
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2014

Keywords

  • Education
  • Fukushima nuclear accident
  • Health literacy
  • Public health nurses

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)

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