Doctor of Nursing Practice
Post Master's DNP Completion
Year Degree Awarded
Month Degree Awarded
Mary Ellen Burke, DNP, RN, CNM, CNE
DNP Project Chair
Jeungok Choi, RN, PhD, MPH
DNP Project Outside Member Name
Elizabeth Cozza, DNP, RN
Background: Patients with obesity confront weight-based bias when navigating the healthcare system. Addressing this topic during the academic formation of future health care providers can effectively diminish negative stereotypes attributed to overweight individuals.
Purpose: The purpose of this project was to reduce weight-based bias among nursing students through a structured curriculum designed to highlight the negative impact of stigma on patients, an understanding of the complex causes of obesity and model a more sensitive approach for nurse-patient interaction.
Methods: Undergraduate nursing students in their junior year inpatient clinical rotation were given two standardized self-surveys, Attitudes Toward Obese Persons Scale (ATOP) and the Anti-fat Attitudes (AFA) were employed to measure nursing students’ beliefs regarding obesity pre- and post-intervention. The educational intervention was delivered to 15 students and consisted of informational videos, lectures and a theatrical production focused on the etiology of obesity and the impact of the provider’s attitudes.
Results: The results revealed that while both instruments showed a trend towards improvement only the AFA yielded a statistically significant change reflecting decreased bias. Results on AFA indicated that each of the 5-items had a significant decrease in the mean from pre- to post-intervention (p<0.05).
Conclusion: Consistent with prior research the results demonstrated that introducing educational material on weight-based bias in nursing curriculum may serve to help diminish bias towards patients with overweight and obesity.