Advanced Practice Nursing student knowledge in obesity management: A mixed methods research study

Sharon M. Fruh, Angela Golden, Rebecca J. Graves, Heather R. Hall, Leigh A. Minchew, Susan Williams

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Background: Obesity, the most prevalent chronic disease affecting multiple systems, is associated with increased mortality and a decreased life expectancy. Objectives: The purpose of this study was to identify Advanced Practice Nursing (APN) students' confidence of obesity management as well as satisfaction of APN curriculum on and curricular recommendations regarding obesity management. Design: Modified convergent mixed-methods design. Setting: A university-based college of nursing in the Deep South. Participants: Graduate APN Students. Methods: An exploratory mixed methods online survey was administered to APN students. The survey included demographics; confidence in obesity management; knowledge of pharmacological treatment; self-reported height and weight; experiences and challenges related to obesity management; and suggestions of curricular content changes for the treatment of obesity that would increase student expertise and confidence. Results: Ninety-nine surveys were completed by 94 female and five male APN students aged 26 to 61 years. The majority (70.7%) were white with BMIs ranging from 19.57 to 51.37 (x̅=27.81). Areas where students were least comfortable were prescribing anti-obesity medications and accurately billing for obesity management. Fourteen percent of APN students reported feeling that their graduate nursing education program did not prepare them well in obesity management, 25.3% reported feeling slightly well prepared, 32% reported feeling moderately well prepared, and 27.8% reported feeling very well or extremely well prepared. Qualitative responses accentuated insecurity in areas such as initiating a discussion on obesity management with patients who have obesity. Conclusions: Overall, APN students requested that their curriculum incorporate more instruction on how to begin the discussion of weight loss and provide clear evidence-based guidelines that include diet, exercise, and medication options. An efficient way to affect the management and treatment of obesity is to ensure that the next generation of providers is thoroughly prepared to implement the best evidence-based obesity management for patients.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)59-64
Number of pages6
JournalNurse Education Today
StatePublished - Jun 2019


  • Advanced Practice Nursing student
  • Evidence-based practice
  • Graduate nursing education
  • Mixed methods
  • Obesity
  • Obesity management

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Nursing
  • Education


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