Health literacy training for public health nurses in fukushima: A multi-site program evaluation

Aya Goto, Alden Yuanhong Lai, Rima E. Rudd

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

Abstract

Public health nurses (PHNs) are community residents’ access points to health information and services in Japan. After the Fukushima nuclear accident, they were challenged to communicate radiation-related health information to best meet community needs. We previously developed and evaluated the outcome of a single-site health literacy training program to augment PHNs’ ability to improve community residents’ access to written health information. This paper presents an evaluation of an identical training program using data combined from multiple sites, and further included proximal and distal evaluations to document the impact of health literacy training in a post-disaster setting. A total of 64 participants, primarily experienced PHNs, attended one of three multisession health literacy workshops conducted in multiple sites across Fukushima. Quantitative and qualitative data on PHNs’ training satisfaction, self-evaluation of achievements regarding training goals, and application of learned skills were collected and analyzed. Each workshop consisted of two 2-hour sessions introducing health literacy and assessment tools and developing skills to improve written materials, followed by a one-month follow- up assessment on PHNs’ application of the gained skills in the field. Post-training evaluations on the appropriateness and usefulness of the workshop were highly positive. At the end of the one-month follow-up, 45% of participants had gained confidence in assessing and revising written materials and had applied the skills they had gained to develop and communicate health information in various settings and modes. This increase in confidence was associated with further application of the learned skills at the municipal level. However, participants reported difficulties in explaining risks, and the need to learn more about plain language to be able to paraphrase professional terms. This paper highlighs the positive outcomes of health literacy training among PHNs. Practical strategies to reinforce their skills to use plain language and communicate the epidemiological concept of risk are also recommended.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)69-77
Number of pages9
JournalJapan Medical Association Journal
Volume58
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 1 2015

Keywords

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

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)

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