Date of Graduation

Fall 12-11-2013

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP)



First Advisor

Juli Maxworthy


Effective provider communication is the key to patient engagement. However, many providers are not able to effectively communicate with patients, in part due to low health literacy. Evidence in the literature supports the use of specific strategies aimed at improving communication with patients. The purpose of this quality initiative was to influence providers to adopt new communication strategies with their patients. Pharmacists, nurses and physicians were invited to participate in a free, full-day, educational event. During the event providers were alerted to the issue of health literacy and provided communication strategies to improve patient comprehension and engagement. Following the presentation, providers were surveyed and asked if they intended to change the way they communicated with patients. Six weeks after the event, providers were administered a follow-up survey to determine if they had in fact changed their practice as originally intended. This author presents the results of these surveys to understand which areas providers committed to changing in comparison to those actually changed. Results showed most providers who committed to change in the areas of communicating with patients, using teach back and implementing patient follow-up phone calls, subsequently reported they had in fact changed their practice. Whereas many providers intended to utilize communication tools with patients, fewer reported actually incorporating this change into their practice. Future opportunities lie in integrating observations to assess knowledge, along with ongoing management to sustain change and removing barriers for adopting communication tools.