Indeed, healthcare facilities were initially designed to cure people of illnesses. However, as time has passed, the healthcare industry has evolved rapidly, giving greater importance to disease prevention and health promotion, alongside providing cures. As a result, preventive healthcare is becoming increasingly popular. After all, preventing diseases and providing health awareness to people before their health deteriorates is a better way to achieve a healthier lifestyle.
Nurses are perhaps the most suitable healthcare professionals for health promotion and illness prevention. Their main duty is to provide the best possible care to every patient, and illness prevention falls right into this category. More importantly, nurses can have a strong influence on the patients they treat. So, alongside treating sick patients, nurses use various methods to prevent diseases and promote health in healthcare facilities and other communities. Here are some critical roles played by nurses in health promotion and illness prevention.
1. Educating Patients
Education is one of the most effective ways to influence patients to live a healthier lifestyle, ultimately causing them to live healthier and longer lives. Often many people put their lives at risk by avoiding essential medical procedures only due to a lack of education and information. In worse cases, many patients are reluctant to learn more about a healthier lifestyle. In such situations, nurses communicate with patients directly, convincing them to change their stance. Nurses can identify different types of learners, such as visual learners and verbal learners, educating them accordingly.
However, nurses cannot take on the task of educating patients without being properly educated themselves. Hence, it’s essential to gain an advanced degree, to be familiarized with health promotion and disease prevention concepts. An online degree program can further make it easy for nurses to continue their job with their studies. Therefore, aspirants can opt for the online DNP programs to participate in health promotion and disease prevention.
2. Evaluating Causes for Illnesses
Before beginning to prevent any illness, it’s essential to assess its cause. Therefore, identifying and evaluating risk factors and causes for illnesses is a major part of a nurse’s role in disease prevention. These risk factors can be anything from mental disorders to infections. Therefore, nurses have to be focused on various aspects of every patient to identify risk factors effectively. For this purpose, nurses carry out different tests and examinations of people, creating detailed reports to be analyzed.
Often many causes are identified, which can then be removed to prevent diseases. As a result, many patients are saved from life-threatening conditions. However, some causes may not be removable, such as genetic factors. Nonetheless, identifying the cause can still help create specialized treatments, schedules, and reports, leading to health promotion. More importantly, nurses can educate patients in a more detailed manner with the help of the information gained due to identifying and evaluating risk factors.
3. Encouraging a Healthy Lifestyle
People often lack the motivation to live a healthier lifestyle. At the same time, others are also hesitant to opt for new healthcare methods. As a result, encouragement is crucial for health promotion, making people live healthier lives. Considering the expertise of nurses and their relationship with patients, it’s not surprising that they play an essential role in the encouragement of a healthy lifestyle. Not only do nurses encourage patients in healthcare facilities, but they also participate in encouraging large communities.
Encouragement includes education for people, alongside communication on a personal level. As a result, nurses can have a more significant influence on people. Many ill people can contract more diseases due to lacking the motivation for healthy activities. Communication provides people with motivation and confidence to start living healthier lives. As a result, sick people feel mentally stronger. More importantly, nurses also provide physical assistance to people with chronic illnesses in activities such as exercise.
Moreover, nurses also provide patients with health promotion programs. The sole purpose is to make people opt for better lifestyles, including exercise. Physical activity has been proven to prevent chronic diseases.
4. Nurses Provide Preventive Healthcare
As the importance of health promotion and illness prevention has increased significantly in recent years, preventive healthcare has become a specialized category of care. Nurses specifically take on the task of preventive healthcare, playing a crucial role in disease prevention. Preventive healthcare is divided into three main areas, which include primary, secondary and tertiary prevention. Primary prevention is the most basic level of preventive healthcare. It provides counseling, as well as developing specialized programs to prevent illness in patients. Immunizations are also provided as part of primary preventive healthcare.
Secondary preventive healthcare techniques are used when early symptoms of a disease are detected in patients. Nurses identify diseases by monitoring patients closely, carrying out mental and physical examinations. After identification, nurses have to alter the patient’s lifestyle to eliminate the disease before it causes irreversible damage. Tertiary preventive healthcare comes into play when patients have existing diseases. In this method, nurses focus on preventing future complications and different illnesses while also keeping the patient’s health up to the mark.
5. Educating Nurse Colleagues
Educating patients is not enough for effective health promotion and disease prevention. Nurses often work in teams in a healthcare facility and require help in coordinating good health promotion programs. In such a situation, experience nurses act as leaders and help to develop the best possible programs. Furthermore, nurses also educate one another on different areas of a patient. Ultimately, this results in better information for the patient, leading to illness prevention and health awareness. Overall, educating nurse colleagues leads to a reduction in workload and better working conditions. Consequently, nurses can perform their tasks more effectively, resulting in better health promotion and illness prevention.
Undoubtedly, health promotion and illness prevention are essential measures that should be taken to ensure healthier lifestyles. It’s crucial to educate people about keeping themselves fit, alongside preventing the spread of diseases. Considering the roles that nurses play in health promotion and illness prevention, they are the most suited workers for this purpose. The expertise and knowledge of nurses give them the upper hand in controlling illnesses and spreading health awareness.