Experiences of Parish Nurses in Providing Diabetes Education and Preconception Counseling to Women With Diabetes

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To explore the role and experiences of the parish nurse in providing diabetes education and preconception counseling to women with diabetes.


Mixed-methods concurrent embedded design.


Focus groups of community-based parish nurses accessed from a regional database (Pennsylvania, Florida, Ohio, New York, Arizona, and Minnesota).


Forty-eight parish nurses recruited from the Parish Nurse and Health Ministry Program database in Western Pennsylvania.


The primary method was focus groups using face-to-face, teleconference, and videoconferencing formats. A secondary method used a quantitative descriptive design with three self-report measures (demographic, preconception counseling self-efficacy, and preconception counseling knowledge). Qualitative content analysis techniques were conducted and combined with descriptive analysis.


Forty-eight parish nurses participated in 1 of 11 focus groups. Eight qualitative themes emerged: Awareness, Experience, Formal Training, Usefulness, Willingness, Confidence, “Wise Women,” and Preconception Counseling Tool for Patients. Participants provided recommendations for training and resources to increase their knowledge and skills. Parish nurses' knowledge scores were low (mean = 66%, range = 40%–100%) with only moderate levels of self-efficacy (mean = 99, range = 27–164). Self-efficacy had a significantly positive association with knowledge (r = .29, p = .05).


Quantitative results were consistent with participants' qualitative statements. Parish nurses were unaware of preconception counseling and lacked knowledge and teaching self-efficacy as it related to preconception counseling and diabetes education. Understanding parish nurses' experiences with women with diabetes and identifying their needs to provide education and preconception counseling will help tailor training interventions that could affect maternal and fetal outcomes.

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