Nutrition and diet therapy in schools of nursing

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Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University


A comparative study was undertaken in diploma and degree schools of nursing within the state of Virginia to evaluate nutrition and diet therapy knowledge of presently enrolled nursing students. A questionnaire determined which schools would participate in the study which was done by using a standard test. The test was pre-tested, accepted at face validity and administered to 701 students.

Results of the test showed that nutrition knowledge did not vary according to position of instructor and that diet therapy knowledge varied slightly. Test scores were consistently higher in nutrition than in diet therapy and gradually increased from the first through the last year of training.

In nutrition, mean test scores for all schools combined ranged from 13.0 to 20.0 with standard deviations of . 2 .. 5 to 4.5 from the first through the last year of training. Me~n scores in diet therapy ranged from 10.0 to 16.0 with .standard deviations of 3. 0 to 3. 5.

The hypothesis that knowledge of nutrition and diet therapy in diploma schools of nursing was improved when a nutrition instructor was employed on the nursing faculty was not correct. The use of another instrument for testing and a wider sample selection might have given the anticipated results.