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Student nurses' attitudes to social justice and poverty: An international Comparison

Scheffer, Mariska M J; Lasater, Kathie; Atherton, Iain M; Kyle, Richard G


Mariska M J Scheffer

Kathie Lasater

Richard G Kyle


Background: In both the United Kingdom (UK) and the United States (US), health inequities are proving resistant to improvement. Nurses are ideally placed to advocate for social justice. It is therefore important that nurse education encourages awareness of the social determinants of health and equips students to act to address health inequity. However, little is known about student nurses’ attitudes to social justice and poverty and the impact of pedagogical strategies used to teach the determinants and patterns of health inequities.
Objectives: To assess and compare UK and US student nurses’ attitudes toward social justice and poverty before and after learning about social determinants of health and health inequities.
Design: Cross-sectional study with embedded before and after design using validated measures.
Setting: Two universities: one urban UK university and one US university with urban and rural campuses.
Participants: 230 student nurses in the UK (n=143) and US (n=87) enrolled in courses teaching content including health inequities and social determinants of health.
Results: Student nurses generally disagreed with stigmatizing statements about people living in poverty and mostly agreed with statements promoting social justice. However, US students
were significantly more likely to have positive attitudes towards both social justice (p=0.001) and poverty (p

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Jun 18, 2019
Online Publication Date Jun 21, 2019
Publication Date 2019-09
Deposit Date Jun 19, 2019
Publicly Available Date Jun 22, 2020
Print ISSN 0260-6917
Publisher Elsevier
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 80
Pages 59-66
Keywords Attitudes; Health inequity; Educational research; Social justice; Student nurses; Poverty; Undergraduate nursing education; Social determinants of health
Public URL
Contract Date Jun 19, 2019


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