Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor

Michael F. Burnett


The primary purpose of this study was to determine if, and how, selected women's health issues are included in baccalaureate nursing curricula in the United States. The study also assessed nursing faculty's perceptions of the importance of these selected women's health issues to nursing curricula. Two hundred sixty baccalaureate nursing programs were randomly selected from a population of 604 1998 National League for Nursing accredited baccalaureate nursing programs in the United States. A three-part researcher developed women's health survey instrument was used for data collection. The instrument consisted of questions pertaining to 19 women's health issues which were selected through an extensive literature review and in consultation with several women's health professionals around the country. Data were collected by mailed questionnaires to the 260 selected programs. After two mailings and a follow-up reminder post-card, the useable response rate was 65%. Results of the study included: (a) most primary women's health issues are included in baccalaureate nursing programs; (b) nursing programs place greater emphasis on women's health issues more general in nature, i.e., cardiovascular disease and substance abuse, than those more specific primarily to women, i.e., menopause and hormone therapy; (c) women's health content can be found in a wide variety of nursing courses; (d) women's health issues are considered to be very important to baccalaureate nursing curricula; and (e) the emphasis placed on women's health issues varies widely among baccalaureate nursing programs. Recommendations included: (a) follow-up nation-wide research of nursing faculty and graduating students from the same program regarding the type, amount and location of women's health content in baccalaureate nursing curricula; (b) development of core women's health content by the nursing profession for inclusion in nursing curricula; (c) evaluation by individual programs of the type, amount and location of women's health content in their curricula; and (d) inclusion of women's health content in nursing diagnostic and licensure exams.