Health literacy of future healthcare professionals: a cross-sectional study among health sciences students in Nepal
journal contributionposted on 2019-01-01, 00:00 authored by Shyam Sundar Budhathoki, Paras K Pokharel, Nilambar Jha, Emma Moselen, Robyn Dixon, Meika Bhattachan, Richard Osborne
Background: There is an assumption that health literacy is higher among health professionals, allowing them to improve the health literacy of their patients. This study explored health literacy profiles of health science students in Nepal, the future health professionals and educators of health literacy. Methods: The multidimensional Health Literacy Questionnaire and demographic questions were administered online to medical and other health science students at the B. P. Koirala Institute of Health Sciences, Dharan, Nepal. Results: More than half (55.8%) of the participants were male, 68.3% were ≤19 y of age, 62.2% had parents with a university degree, 73.5% were studying undergraduate courses and 61.6% were pursuing medicine. Students reported having moderate support and skills to manage their health. Health was regarded as important to them. They reported a moderate ability to engage with health professionals and the healthcare system. Medical students reported higher scores for all scales except social support for health, which was similar across the groups. Conclusions: Universities should target interventions to improve students' access to health information and to develop students' ability to engage actively with healthcare providers. This will likely produce health professionals with improved health literacy levels who are sensitive to the health literacy needs of their patients from different population groups.