Nursing competence in adolescent health: Anticipating the future needs of youth

Linda H. Bearinger, Linda Wildey, Joann Gephart, Robert W. Blum

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


The health problems of youth have dramatically shifted in the last 30 years from biological to social causes of morbidity and mortality. To assess the adequacy of nurses' knowledge and skills in adolescent health, a national survey of 445 nurses, including members of the American Public Health Association, the American School Health Association, and the National Association of Pediatric Nurse Associates and Practitioners, was undertaken in 1985. Results indicated that even among nurses who work with young people the most, areas of greatest knowledge and skill deficiencies included common social morbidities of adolescents. In addition to self-assessed inadequacies in knowledge and skills, nurses identified excessive time demands as a primary obstacle to the provision of health services to adolescents. To assure adequate preparation of nurses, it is recommended that accreditation criteria for baccalaureate and graduate programs specify essential adolescent health content for curricula compared to current accreditation criteria that generalizes "across the life span." Focusing on the enhancement of educational opportunities in adolescent health, nurses identified strategies for further education that would bridge the gap between the health needs of youth and nurse's self-perceived competencies in providing these services.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)80-86
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Professional Nursing
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1992
Externally publishedYes


  • Adolescence
  • Adolescent health
  • Nursing accreditation
  • Nursing education


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