Health Promotion in Nursing

According to Edelman and Mandel (2006), health promotion is a new field with varying definitions. O’Donnell (2007) defines health promotion as the art and science of helping people to change their lifestyles to move toward a state of optimal health. Patients need to become motivated to reach this goal with the assistance of nursing care, nursing diagnoses, and nursing goals to strengthen their personal awareness, motivation, skill-building, and personal support systems to find this positive place in their own lives and healthcare.

This change of health promotion is a joint effort between the patient, their families, their community, private supports through business and professional groups, and, lastly, public health programs with local, state, and federal governments. Health promotion not only offers helpful information, but also assists the patient in making decisions regarding health care such as health screening information, care of minor illnesses, emergency preparedness, management of chronic disease, and making environmental changes to better their own positive behaviors (Folding, 1988).

Societal disease prevention is the focus of public health. This is where the project Health People 2010 comes into play. Healthy People was first development by the surgeon general in 1979 to promote health and prevent disease. Healthy People 2010 is the latest version and has moved to the forefront of the public health sector to emphasize health care (Edelman & Mandel, 2006). This report had three main goals which were to increase the span of healthy life, reduce health and life equalities, and provide access to health preventive services for all (Edelman & Mandel, 2006).

Healthy People 2010’s two main goals are to increase quality of life and healthy years of life, and eliminate health disparities which address the problem of access to health care differences in treatment based on race, gender, and ability to pay, and other issues such as urban versus rural health, insurance coverage, Medicare and Medicaid reimbursement, and satisfaction with service delivery (Edelman & Mandel, 2006). Nurses must know and understand the different models of health concepts to treat and teach their patients.

One of the nurse’s main roles is to use nursing diagnosis to make goals for each individual patient. Education and teaching are key in reaching the patient’s needs. The nurse should identify how best the patient learns, by example, by demonstration, visual aids, etc. so that the patient will understand what the nurse is teaching. Primary prevention is to lower the risk of obtaining a disease before it occurs. Education of disease prevention is a good example, such as healthy nutrition prevents obesity.

Secondary prevention identifies a disease before symptoms appear. Nurses can teach a patient how to stop unhealthy behaviors and move toward a healthy lifestyle. Secondary prevention also includes screening and diagnostic testing for illnesses related to unhealthy behaviors. An example of this is encouraging women to obtain mammograms who have a family history of breast cancer. We want to be proactive and stop the disease process before it starts. Tertiary prevention reduces the effects of a disease process by restoration of function.

The disease is already identified and treatment has begun. For example, a patient has high blood pressure noted and medications are started. The nurse teaches the patient healthy behaviors to control the high blood pressure to eventually be off the medication, such as diet control and exercise. The nurse also teaches medication compliance. In conclusion, a good nurse will thoroughly know and understand different models of health promotion starting at the basic patient-nurse relationship all the way up to the private and public health sectors.

The nurse must be flexible to treat each patient individually so they receive the best care possible and learn from the nurse how best to care for themselves. A nurse must be resourceful to entertain all questions asked of them and know where to look for answers to best teach the patient. Adherence to nursing diagnosis and goal setting is a proactive way to better the health of the patient’s individuality. Following the guidelines of Healthy People 2010 is also important to give continuity of care to the individual patient on up to public health so everyone is on the same health page.

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