Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Community Health Promotion (PhD)

Degree Level



Health, Human Performance and Recreation


Ches Jones

Committee Member

Nan Smith-Blair

Second Committee Member

Leah J. Henry

Third Committee Member

Bart Hammig


Health and environmental sciences, Community, Fall, Older adults, Prevention


Nationally, 28.4% of older adults fall each year. Falls and resulting injury result in decreased mobility, functional impairment, loss of independence, and increased mortality. Utilization of evidence based protocols by providers to identify older adults at risk of falling is limited and rates of participation by older adults in prevention activities is low. Because of nursing’s increasing role in caring for older adults, development of fall prevention education for nursing students would result in increased awareness of the need for fall prevention in community dwelling older adults and increased access of older adults to falls risk assessment. There is a need to extend research to inform teaching and learning strategies for fall prevention.

After pretesting, a convenience sample of 52 BSN students and 20 graduate nursing students completed an online education program and performed a falls risk assessment on an older adult before completing a posttest and self-efficacy survey. Data were analyzed using multivariate statistical tests. A qualitative approach was used to investigate a subset of student’s views about relationships between acquiring knowledge, self-efficacy, and skill mastery and their perceptions of barriers and facilitators to incorporating falls risk assessment into practice. Data were analyzed using the constant comparative method to review, code, and categorize data.

Results revealed a rise in knowledge and student self-reporting of self-efficacy with falls risk assessment skills. Themes that emerged from semi-structured interviews included nurses are too busy to perform fall risk assessments, the older adult is a barrier, the importance of increasing awareness of falls prevention among nurses, opportunities to address health beliefs of older adults, and need for policies or guidelines.

In conclusion, an online program enhanced with opportunity for hands on practice provides an effective environment for learning to use falls risk tools and should be incorporated into nursing education in order to increase older adults’ access to fall risk assessment.