Self-perceived competence of third-year nursing students in providing nutrition care to patients : a thesis presented in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Science in Nutrition and Dietetics, Massey University, Albany, New Zealand

Thumbnail Image
Open Access Location
Journal Title
Journal ISSN
Volume Title
Massey University
The author
Aim: To assess the self-perceived competence of undergraduate nursing students in providing nutrition care in clinical practice. Background: Nurses are uniquely positioned to manage patients' primary nutrition care needs across diverse work settings. As the largest group of health professionals, they are essential in nutrition-related chronic disease prevention. Although it is assumed that nutrition care is integrated into nurses' knowledge and clinical skill sets before entering professional practice, the sufficiency of nutrition education within the nursing curricula has yet to be discovered. This study aimed to investigate nursing students' nutrition competence in delivering nutrition care. Design: Cross-sectional Settings: Online survey Participants: All students enrolled in the third year of a Bachelor of Nursing were invited to complete a sociodemographic questionnaire and the validated NUTrition COMPetence tool. Methods: Competence was assessed across four constructs: confidence in knowledge about nutrition and chronic disease, confidence in nutrition skills, confidence in communication and counselling about nutrition, and attitudes towards nutrition care. A 5-point Likert scale was used to rate confidence for all construct items. Scores for each construct were summed to provide a maximum score of 175. Pearson Chi-squared tests were used to identify associations between the responses. Results: 108 third-year nursing students completed the survey and reported moderate nutrition competence (114 ± 18.5 out of 175, 65%). Students demonstrated moderate confidence in nutrition knowledge (20.50 ± 4.26 out of 35, 59%), skills (33.47 ± 8.66 out of 55, 61%), counselling and communication (29.43 ± 4.67 out of 45, 65%), and positive attitudes toward nutrition (31.04 ± 6.48 out of 40, 78%). Conclusions: Although most student nurses had positive attitudes towards nutrition care, they reported low to moderate confidence in their nutrition knowledge, skills, and counselling. This suggests a need for increased nutrition content in the nursing curriculum.