Lucy A. Meyer

Date of Award


Document Type

Graduate Project

Degree Name

Master of Science in Nursing (MSN)


This descriptive study determined the knowledge level of student nurses before and after an educational presentation. Thirty-two freshman student nurses in the Nursing 298 class took part in this study. Participants were given a questionnaire that measured their knowledge level regarding the impacts of culture, poverty, homelessness, and psychiatric illness in the United States and the third world country of Guatemala.

Data for each of these areas was analyzed and a significant increase in the level of knowledge was noted between pre-test and post-test results. Relevant findings indicated that the average test score on pretests taken prior to the educational presentation were 46. 7%, while the average score on the post-test immediately following the educational intervention was Tl%. This revealed a significant 24.3% improvement in the knowledge level of student nurses. The student nurses' knowledge levels also increased in each of the research questions. However, question number four which concerned cultural competence had the least percentage of increase. Student nurses gained 13% less knowledge in this area than on all the other questions. This demonstrates that although the student nurses' knowledge level of cultural competence in caring for persons affected by poverty, homelessness and psychiatric illness increased by 8%, an enormous amount of education and research is required in this area. Since poverty, homelessness, and psychiatric illness are not a static state, and the definitions, percentage rates, ideas, and viewpoints vary among individuals and cultures (Lennon, McAllister, Kuang, & Herman, 2005), student nurses must be educated appropriately in order to provide competent nursing care