Health Promotion Research Paper

Pages: 5 (1425 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 4  ·  File: .docx  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Healthcare

Health Promotion

At the interface between nursing practice and public health is the concept of health promotion. Health promotion is defined in the literature as "the process of enabling people to exert control over the determinants of health and thereby improve their health," (Health Promotion Agency 2009). That process includes a practical, hands-on dimension in which healthcare workers and policy makers actively raise awareness and facilitate health via information dissemination and accessible health care services. O'Donnell (2009) defines health promotion as "the science and art of helping people change their lifestyle to move toward a state of optimal health." Thus, health promotion addresses both curative and preventative issues. The World Health Organization suggests in its constitution that health promotion has an ethical component: " 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." Health promotion combines public relations, political empowerment, and public policy initiatives with daily nursing practice.Get full Download Microsoft Word File access
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Research Paper on Health Promotion Assignment

Definitions of health promotion show that health promotion can be broken down into four distinct areas. First, health behavior theory illustrates the underlying methods by which health promotion can be achieved. Ideally, theory is supported by empirical evidence and practice. Second, health promotion depends on healthy interfaces between public policy and health care financing, and between the law and health care practice. Third, health promotion is a communications field within the broader rubric of nursing practice. Good public relations and communications skills are required, as well as partnerships with media and the private sector. Finally, health promotion must have measurable or at least observable outcomes. Measuring the effectiveness of health promotion strategies does not depend on statistical analyses. However, quantitative and qualitative data can both be helpful in assessing program merits and designing new strategies for the future.

Underlying Theories of Health Behavior

Health promotion strategies are rooted in a few core health behavior theories. Four of these theories are outlined by the Center for Health Communications Research at the University of Michigan (2009). Those four theories include the Health Belief Model, Social Cognitive Theory, Motivational Interviewing, and the Transtheoretical Model. Each of these theories can be drawn upon for advice and support for best practices in health promotion.

The Health Belief Model focuses on the attitudes and beliefs of individuals, showing how those factors impact behavior (Center for Health Communications Research 2009). The two most important cognitive factors in the Health Belief Model are perceived threats and perceived susceptibility to those threats. Perceived susceptibility in turn includes issues such as perceived severity of the problem (who cares if I get heartburn?); perceived benefits (I will look better as well as feel better if I exercise); and perceived barriers (I won't be able to hang out with my friends if I stop drinking). Self-efficacy and other variables also form the basis of individual decision-making with regards to health and lifestyle choices. Health promotion depends on an understanding of the Health Belief Model. Nurses, health care workers, and public health administrators can all take perceived threats and perceived susceptibilities into account when designing communication strategies.

Social cognitive theory combines social learning with behaviorism. The theory holds that "response consequences of a behavior are used to form expectations of behavioral outcomes," (Center for Health Communications Research 2009). Social cognitive theory "suggests that the mind is an active force that constructs one's reality, selectively encodes information, performs behavior on the basis of values and expectations, and imposes structure on its own actions," (Center for Health Communications Research 2009). Therefore, social cognitive theory takes into account environmental factors that impact behavioral choices. Those environmental factors and related symbols and sensory input can be used to design effective health promotion programs.

Motivational interviewing is an especially fruitful theory in that it offers nurses and other health care professionals practical steps by which to help clients achieve optimal health. The underlying theory is that clients need to be motivated from within, and not told what to do from an external authority. "Direct persuasion is not an effective method for resolving ambivalence" towards change (Center for Health Communications Research 2009). The counselor forms a partnership with the client rather than acting as an authority figure. Because of its practical advice,… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/health-promotion/4686.