Nurses are in the forefront for becoming great, influential leaders in the transformation of future healthcare through the use of education and health promotion. As the population continues to grow, nurses are sought out as educators and not just caregivers.
Nurses are also capable of providing the public with the education it needs to prevent illness and disease, and promote quality healthcare. By expanding emphasis not only on the individual, but family and community groups as well, a wider outreach for public health, promotion, and education can be addressed.
There are three types of prevention described as primary, secondary and tertiary, which aim to prevent the onset of a targeted condition (GCU, 2011). Implementing health education to avoid health conditions as the primary prevention, aiding and treating symptomatic individual’s as the secondary prevention, and restore function and negative effects of an already acquired disease as the tertiary prevention, the hopes to overcome and implement a cost- efficient, healthy lifestyle can be achieved (Fitzgerald, 2011).
Through health promotion, prevention, and intervention, the future of healthcare can be based on educating the public to promote longevity and quality of life by using primary, secondary and tertiary preventions. The World Health Organization (WHO) defines health promotion as “the process which enables people to improve control over the determinants of health, and as a result to improve their own health” (Jadelhack, 2012).
By providing health promotion to others, the nurse is enabling the individual to take control, responsibility and action for their own healthcare. “Individually and through national associations, nurses, along with other healthcare providers, can be effective in paving the road for good health through health promotion” (Jadelhack, 2012).
Through seminars, lectures, handouts, and teaching, nurses are educating the public to become their own advocates of care. Through the use of health promotion and education, the nurse is teaching the individual about disease, prevention, and how to promote for the care of themselves and their families.
The American Nurses Association (ANA) states, “Nursing must expand its efforts to design and implement interventions which support promotion of health and prevention of disease/illness and disability” (ANA, 2007). There are multiple dimensions that must be taken into consideration when referring to the health of an individual including, physical, mental, spiritual, and social. With the evolution of healthcare, nurses must begin to increase their efforts in health promotion by viewing the individuals they serve as holistic, and also considering the families and communities as well.
With the evolution of nursing into public, community, and home healthcare settings, nurses must now have a wide knowledge base, adequate critical thinking skills, and an active involvement in disease prevention, to promote quality health (Edelman & Mandle, 2010). The nurse must utilize the nursing process by assessing the individual’s learning style and educational background in order to adequately present material to the individual.
The nurse must plan, implement and evaluate the individual’s change in lifestyle habits including physical activity, healthy eating, and motivation, need and desire in order to transform into a healthier way of life. The nurse has evolved into a primary care giver and “Therefore, the attitudes of the nurses towards health promotion may well affect their willingness and ability to promote health” (Cross, 2005).
Health promotion is an important concept for nursing as it encompasses the nurse in collaboration with other healthcare professionals. The nurse’s role may include patient advocate, healer, client educator, care manager, and nursing researcher (Edelman & Mandle, 2011). “Much of the nursing role is involved with health teaching…health education is clearly a nurses role” (Edelman & Mandle, 2010).
Nurses must incorporate the three levels of prevention when implementing health promotion throughout all areas of nursing including acute care settings, long-term care settings, community and public health, and mental health. By utilizing each type of prevention, nurses are able to educate and advocate quality client care to the public in a way that will be most beneficial to them. Primary prevention “reduces both the incidence and prevalence of a disease” (CDC, 2007).
Of each prevention type, primary prevention is the most beneficial, as it helps to avoid or avert any health illness, disease, or negative lifestyle behavior before it originates. Health education about risk factors and specific protection towards illness are utilized to decrease the vulnerability of the individual to disease or dysfunction (Edelman & Mandle, 2010). Secondary prevention has been said to “include screening and clinical interventions aimed at the prevention of ill health and recurrence of episodes of ill health…” (Peckham, et. al., 2011).
The use of secondary prevention is valuable to the individual who might have a certain health illness or condition and is unaware as its primary focus is aimed at screening and identification of illnesses before they begin. Tertiary prevention is focused on maintenance and care of an illness that is already prevalent and has already been established (GCU, 2011). While tertiary prevention is classified as a prevention type, it emphasizes its efforts on managing and conserving illnesses after they have already been recognized unlike those in the primary and secondary prevention levels.
Although there are three levels of prevention and all are different, they may overlap at times, which should not be confused by healthcare providers. In order to maximize education and quality health promotion, it is essential to determine which type of intervention should be utilized to improve and increase quality care for each individual. With the ever-changing healthcare system, healthcare professionals should focus their efforts on curing not just caring.
With the use of technology today and the ever-changing healthcare system, the nurse can adequately inform the community about healthcare promotion and education to evolve the future into a healthy way of life. By investing in the promotion of quality health, we are saving in healthcare costs as prevention promotes for fewer hospitalizations and long term health care. Through the use of education, health promotion and prevention can become a widespread, economical intervention in the move to implementing a healthy, quality lifestyle.
References:Center for Disease Control (CDC). (2007). Module 13: Levels of Disease Prevention. Retrieved September 6, 2013 fromhttp://www.cdc.gov/excite/skincancer/mod13.htm
Cross, R. (2005). Accident and emergency nurses’ attitudes towards health promotion. Journal Of Advanced Nursing, 51(5), 474-483. doi:10.1111/j.1365-2648.2005.03517.x Doody, C. M., & Doody, O. (2012).
Health promotion for people with intellectual disability and obesity. British Journal Of Nursing, 21(8), 460-465. Edelman, Mandle, C. (2010). Health Promotion Throughout the Life Span (7th ed). Mosby. Retrieved from
http://pageburstls.elsevier.com/books/9780323056625/id/B9780323056625000012_p0790 Fitzgerald,M. (2011). Primary, Secondary, and Tertiary Prevention: Important in Certification and Practice. Retreived September 6, 2013 from http://fhea.com/main/?p=certificationcols/level_prevention.htm Grand Canyon University. (2011). Health Promotion in Nursing Care. Retreived September 1, 2013 from https://lc-ugrad1.gcu.edu/learningPlatform Jadelhack, R. (2012). HEALTH PROMOTION IN NURSING AND COST-
EFFECTIVENESS. Journal Of Cultural Diversity, 19(2), 65-68.Peckham, S., Hann, A., & Boyce, T. (2011). Health promotion and ill-health prevention: the role of general practice. Quality In Primary Care, 19(5), 317-323.
The American Nurses Association (ANA). 2007. Health of the Public. Retreived September 1, 2013 fromhttp://web.archive.org/web/20071027171411/http://www.nursingworld.org/MainMenuCategories/HealthcareandPolicyIssues/HoP.aspx