Promoting Mental Health Introduction The World Health Organization defines health as “a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity” and that the “enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of health is one of the fundamental rights of every human being without distinction of race, religion, political belief, economic or social condition. ” (World Health Organization. 2006) As nurses, health and health promotion are fundamental to the job.
Nurses have a responsibility to participate in the advancement of health promotion by teaching acutely ill patients how to manage illness and teaching healthy people how to remain healthy. Nurses must have an evidence-based understanding of the significant effect that can be made through health promotion interventions and communicate this understanding to the public. As people become more aware of measures needed to maintain to good health, and become knowledgeable about their own health status and the health of their families, the overall health of the population will improve. Health and Health Promotion
As health is a state of well being, health promotion is the best way to attain, and maintain good health. Nurses can educate patients about diet, exercise, stress, and safety. We assess patients on an individual basis for readiness to learn, current knowledge, and how our patients like to learn. Identifying barriers to change and helping our patients eliminate said barriers is also of utmost importance. In a community setting, nurses can encourage clean environments, be an active voice in politics aimed towards shaping the health of our community, and act as a role model and resource.
Nurses play a pivotal role in shaping the health of our society. (American Heart Association, 2006) As a telephonic case manager for an insurance company, my job is to do a comprehensive health assessment, and provide ongoing support and education tailored to each individual patient’s needs. The overall goal of the position is to enhance the quality of patient management and satisfaction, to promote continuity of care and cost effectiveness through the education, coordination of health services and providing future health planning for all patients.
Many of the major health problems today are lifestyle related and many of these ailments can be prevented or minimized by the choice of positive health habits. These lifestyle choices relate to physical activity, nutrition, weight and stress management, smoking cessation and cancer screening, as well as chronic disease management for those living with conditions like arthritis, diabetes, or high blood pressure. Increasingly, a nurse’s role is moving past secondary prevention and towards primary prevention and health promotion.
While the importance of prevention of illness cannot be minimized, the initiative to approach wellness holistically is growing. The United States Government is taking steps to help the American public move away from lifestyles solely motivated by health protecting behaviors. Their goal is outlined in the Healthy People 2010 initiative as “developing and implementing policies and preventive interventions that effectively address [individual behaviors and environmental factors to] reduce the burden of illness, enhance quality of life, and increase longevity” (U.
S. Department of Health and Human Services, 2000). According to Pender, Murdaugh, and Parsons, health protecting behaviors are those behaviors that one engages in to “actively avoid illness, detect it early, or maintain functioning within the constraints of illness” (2006, p. 7). These behaviors of health protection are commonly referred to as disease prevention. An example of a health protecting behavior is a woman getting a routine mammogram, or a parent making sure their child’s immunizations are up-to-date.
Health promotion goes beyond just prevention, involving the “desire to increase well-being and actualize human health potential” (Pender, Murdaugh, & Parsons, 2006, p. 7). It is not just the desire to stay free from illness, but an awareness that a human has the potential to grow physically, mentally and spiritually throughout their life that motivates health promoting behavior. “The overall goal of health promotion is the balanced enhancement of physical, mental, and social positive health, coupled with the prevention of physical, mental, and social ill-health” (Downie, Tannahill, & Tannahill, 1997).
It is the nurse’s charge to help individuals and groups create a climate conducive to change, help with the steps involved with that change, and to facilitate the maintenance of the change in health promoting behavior (Pender et al. , 2006, p. 37). Health promoting behaviors include regular exercise for fitness and energy, or the use of biodegradable and non-toxic cleaners in your home to maintain a healthy environment for your family. Conclusion Nursing plays a key role in health protection and promotion, both in the individual and the community settings.
For individuals, education and support for behavior changes is key. Nurses have a great opportunity to teach patients at the bedside, not only about current illness and treatment, but also about general health and wellness. Nurses can encourage regular screenings and vaccinations, follow up care and medication compliance. We can educate patients about diet, exercise, stress, and safety. We assess patients on an individual basis for readiness to learn, current knowledge, and how our patients like to learn.
Identifying barriers to change and helping our patients eliminate said barriers is also of utmost importance. In a community setting, nurses can encourage clean environments, be an active voice in politics aimed towards shaping the health of our community, and act as a role model and resource. Nurses play an important role in shaping the health of our society. Bibliography American Diabetes Association. How to Prevent or Delay Diabetes. Retrieved November 20, 2007, from American Diabetes Association: http://www. diabetes. org/diabetes-prevention/how-to-prevent-diabetes. sp American Heart Association. (2006). Go Red For Women. Retrieved November 22, 2007, from American Heart Association: http://www. goredforwomen. org/index. html Downie, R. , Tannahill, C. , & Tannahill, A. (1997). Health Promotion: Models and Values (2nd ed. ). Oxford: Oxford University Press. Retrieved November 6, 2007 from http://www. palau-health. net/ahec/PH734/Session1/modsval. pdf Pender, N. , Murdaugh, C. , & Parsons, M. (2006). Health Promotion in Nursing Practice (5th ed. ). Upper Saddle River, New Jersey: Prentice Hall. Rogers, R. (n. . ). Benefits of a High Fiber Diet. Retrieved November 24, 2007, from Articles Archive: http://health. articlesarchive. net/benefits-of-a-high-fiber-diet. html U. S. Department of Health and Human Services. (2000, November). Healthy People 2010: Understanding and Improving Health. 2nd. Washington, DC, U. S. : U. S. Government Printing Office. Retrieved November 2, 2007 from http://www. healthypeople. gov/Document/pdf/uih/2010uih. pdf WHO definition of Health. Retrieved May 20, 2008 from http://www. searo. who. int/EN/Section898/Section1441. htm )