Purpose: The purpose of this study was to ascertain the knowledge level of nurse practitioner (NP) students about emergency contraception (EC), and to explore attitudes about EC that may intersect with willingness to prescribe EC.
Data sources: Four hundred and sixty-seven NP students completed a 30-item web-based survey using Vovici survey software.
Conclusions: Students who reported formal content on EC in their program of study showed significantly better mean knowledge scores (t= 5.279, df = 459, p < .001). Gaps in NP students’ knowledge of EC mechanisms of action, understanding of indications and contraindications were apparent. Younger students (F(3,457) = 4.994, p < .002), those newer to nursing (F(4,456) = 6.641, p < .0005), and women's health NP students (F(4,445) = 3.488, p < .008), demonstrated significantly better knowledge. Attitudes regarding EC appeared to be tied to the respondent's knowledge about EC.
Implications for practice: Knowledge is an important factor in informing NP practice decisions. Clinicians need accurate, evidence-based knowledge to provide health education and counseling to reproductive age women if unintended pregnancies are to be reduced.