Health Promotion: Nurse skills and barriers

Health promotion enables people to increase control over their individual health. Health promotion programs aim to engage and empower individuals and communities to choose healthy behaviors and also make changes that reduce the risk of developing chronic diseases. It covers a wide range of social and environmental interventions that are designed to improve people’s health and quality of life .For instance, by addressing and preventing the root causes of ill health, not just focusing on treatment and cure.

Social determinants of health

Health promotion programs focus on addressing social determinants of health. That is, determinants which influence modifiable risk behaviors. Social determinants of health include the following:

  • economic factors
  • social factors
  • cultural factors
  • political conditions

That is, conditions which surround people that affect health status. Modifiable risk behaviors for example, tobacco use, poor eating habits, and lack of physical activity contribute to the development of chronic disease.

knowledge and skills required by the nurse to promote health

Nurses working in health care facilities have a great responsibility in preventative care and wellness. The backbone of the nursing profession has always been recognized as that of a caring profession. Further ,one that excels in disease prevention and health promotion. Nurses are also strong advocates for patients because they control the health care system. Therefore, nurse role in promoting health care is to utilize evidence-based research and recommendations to improve the health of patients. Nurses use their knowledge and skills to promote healthier lifestyles through:

  • Creating awareness :Raising awareness about healthy behaviors for the general public. Examples of communication strategies include public service announcements, health fairs, mass media campaigns.
  •  Encouraging and educating: empowering behavior change and actions through increased knowledge. For examples ,offering courses, trainings, and support groups.
  •  Policy, systems and environment: Making systematic changes ,for example, through improved rules and regulations (policy), systems, and economic, social, or physical environment to encourage, make available, and enable healthy choices.
  • Helping patients to potentially receive preventative services such as counseling, screenings, and precautionary procedures or medications. Nurses can impassion those to engage in healthy lifestyles through education, mentorship, and leadership.

Barriers to the health promotion and the adoption of healthy lifestyle

There are a wide range of factors that affect our society in adopting a healthy lifestyle. The following are some of the barriers that affect health promotion:

  • Negative influence from family and friends
  • Peer pressure
  • Inequity in allocation of public resources
  • Insufficient support from health professionals
  • Tolerance towards unhealthy lifestyles



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