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Thursday, March 10, 2011

Health Promotion: Nurse vs. Patient

Nurses play many roles in health care; one of the roles pertains to health promotion. The role of health promoter provides the nurse with many opportunities to contribute to the wellness of the patients. Health promotion facilitates an individual in altering personal habits and ways of living in order to achieve a higher level of health.

Altering personal habits can ultimately be equated to bringing change into someone’s life. Whenever a person faces changes, a number of obstacles halt the implementation of the changes. These obstacles can be perceived, as well as situational. I think that the nurses as teachers of health promotion face patients’ perceived obstacles more frequently than situational obstacles. Perceived obstacles include patients’ perception about the lack of time or resources, existence of inconveniences, or financial difficulties. The barriers may actually exist, or they may be imagined by the patients.
I am a strong believer that if a patient has no determination to change their health behavior, of if the perceived obstacles out weight the desire of change, no educational influence on the nurse’s part will abet the change. For example, I see patients who come in for stent or balloon angioplasties because their arterial circulation is severely compromised by years of smoking. A wealth of resources is available for these clients: support groups, medications, non-traditional therapies. I may feel that a scare of losing a leg would be a strong enough of a stimulus for altering personal habits, but the client continues to smoke, and his health is persistently deteriorates.
A spiral model adequately presents how the majority of people change over time. People with chronic behavior problems can progress from pre-contemplation to contemplation to action. The majority relapse on any one cycle throughout the stages.  The spiral pattern suggests that people learn from their relapse experiences rather than going in circles. If I can better understand the cyclic nature of change, I can learn to approach clients at more appropriate times with the measures that are more suitable at a given period of time to achieve more favorable outcomes. Setting realistic goals facilitates in helping the client in health promotion. I believe that my role as a nurse is to provide education and the information about the resources available to the client. Timing the intervention is a key factor in successful outcome.

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