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J Am Acad Nurse Pract. 2004 Dec;16(12):547-54.

Transformation in family nurse practitioner students' attitudes toward homeless individuals after participation in a homeless outreach clinic.

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  • 1FNP Program, Azusa Pacific University School of Nursing, California, USA.



To use a retrospective pre/post self-assessment survey to determine the attitudes of family nurse practitioner (FNP) students toward homeless individuals before and after participating in a homeless outreach clinic (HOC) and to elicit, through focus groups, their perspectives on the homeless population after their HOC participation.


A mixed-methods study using focus group tapes and transcripts of 15 FNP students who were divided into two separate focus groups as well as three completed survey measures: Demographic Data Form, Attitudes Toward Homelessness Inventory, and HOC Attendance Form.


Overall, the FNP students revealed no stigmatizing attitudes toward homeless people prior to their HOC participation, but a significant positive change in their attitudes occurred after the experience. There were significant mean differences in 6 out of the 11 scale items and in the overall total mean scores after the HOC experience (p = .013). The focus groups revealed the transformation of the students' attitudes toward homeless individuals after their HOC participation, supporting and illuminating the survey findings.


The study findings underscore the importance of including the care of homeless patients in FNP educational programs. Such exposure provides FNP students with an opportunity to develop the social responsibility to care for all segments of society, especially homeless people, in keeping with nursing's social contract as a helping profession.

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