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Promoting Health Education as a Nurse

Health promotion in nursing is an integral piece of the profession, a responsibility of many health care professionals that makes a major difference in patient care. Every day, nurses have opportunities to provide education on various topics to promote better health for their patients and in their communities. 

This blog aims to celebrate nurses by exploring the diverse ways nurses lead health promotion and disease prevention through their expertise in health education. Nursing is an exciting profession with a positive job outlook and tremendous value today. 


Why We Value and Celebrate Nurses

Nurses have achieved and maintained the rank of America’s most trusted profession for 22 consecutive years. This rewarding and respected career is considered one of the nation’s best jobs of 2024, alongside advanced practice nursing roles and other health specialists. 

The existing nursing shortage in America has resulted in a major hiring push with a faster-than-average growth rate for the profession. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, nursing employment is projected to grow approximately 6% between 2022 and 2032. Salary estimates are also favorable, with a median pay for registered nurses (RNs) of $81,220 annually in 2022.

Nurses are valued and celebrated for many reasons, including:

  • Commitment to patient advocacy
  • Versatility and adaptability on the job
  • Teamwork and collaborative practice
  • Extensive clinical knowledge for delivering safe and quality care

Caring and compassion are hallmark qualities of the nursing profession, combined with high-level critical thinking skills and clinical expertise. Nurses are scientists, decision-makers, and leaders who routinely implement evidence-based practice when promoting holistic health and wellness. Health promotion in nursing is essential, not only through preventive health screenings but also during acute and chronic illness.


Critical Importance of Health Promotion

To optimize the health and wellness of an aging American population, nurses provide health promotion through education during all stages of life and all phases of illness. One of the most critical times for health promotion is after a disease has been diagnosed because education on managing and improving symptoms can dramatically impact a person’s quality of life.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 60% of American adults have a chronic illness, and 40% have two or more. Chronic diseases require ongoing management and can be financially burdensome with pharmaceutical costs and potential hospitalizations. Many chronic illnesses have lifestyle risk factors that can contribute to the development or worsening of the disease. Examples include:

  • Physical inactivity (or prolonged sitting)
  • Tobacco use and secondhand smoke
  • Nutritional deficiencies from dietary choices
  • Excessive alcohol intake

Health promotion is paramount in our current health care climate, where Americans are recovering from collective trauma and mitigating the effects of excessive stress. Many physical and mental health conditions require treatment along with self-care and health promotion efforts to manage day-to-day effects.


Ways Nurses Participate in Health Promotion

Nurses engage in health promotion initiatives to increase awareness of risk factors and encourage early detection through timely health screening. They also provide motivational counseling for behavioral change and are influential leaders in developing health policies that foster successful community programs and environmental support for healthy living. Let’s look in detail at these aspects of health promotion where nurses serve invaluable roles.


Health Screening

Thorough subjective and objective health assessments are essential for identifying early signs of disease, particularly in individuals with a family history or genetic risk factors for illness. Nurses first conduct health screenings during routine physical examinations where they may identify individuals who can benefit from additional screening measures.

Common screening assessments conducted by nurses include:

  • Blood pressure monitoring
  • Vision and hearing testing
  • Administration of in-office labs
  • Mental health questionnaires

Nurses also interpret the results of screening tests, providing routine follow-up and monitoring when appropriate. They also help patients and families navigate consumer health information found online and help direct them toward reputable sources for trustworthy health education.


Counseling and Emotional Support

Nursing is distinct from licensed counseling, but nurses routinely provide aspects of counseling and coaching throughout various health-related situations. They are trained in therapeutic communication techniques for patients and their families that can help facilitate supportive dynamics and behavioral change. 

Motivational interviewing can help individuals identify challenges and set meaningful, measurable, attainable goals. Examples of areas where nurses may help patients with behavioral change include:

  • Improved adherence to medication treatment plans
  • Greater self-efficacy for making long-term lifestyle changes
  • Clarification of priority health goals

Nurses engage with empathy and compassion, understanding the complex needs of their patients and creating care plans in partnership with their patients. This type of individualized health care promotes patient engagement in improving health. 


Policy Development

Direct work with patients and families puts nurses on the frontlines of health care delivery, allowing them unique insight into the daily challenges and areas of opportunity for improving the health care system. Nurses collect data and analyze workflow processes for clinical care delivery, creating practical solutions for efficiency without compromising quality. 

From this place of insight, nurses are uniquely qualified to suggest changes and new developments to community and environmental policies. They frequently encourage healthier lifestyles by bringing their perspectives into professional organizations with participation on policy-making advisory boards and task forces.

Research is another critical area where nurses contribute to policy development. Examples of topical areas that nurses research include:

  • Best practices for pain management
  • Cost-effective care
  • Patient health outcomes
  • Social determinants of health
  • Technology integration

When ethical considerations arise, nurses often weigh the pros and cons of decisions and strive to uphold the highest standards. We honor and recognize nurses for this commitment to excellence and the positive influence they bring to the world.


Pursue Your Nursing Degree at Marymount University

The potential to become a nurse faster in two years or less provided you already have a bachelor’s degree is possible through an online accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing (ABSN). You can transition from your current career into nursing with the flexibility of online coursework and one on-campus residency with Marymount University’s Online ABSN program.

More reasons to consider studying nursing at Marymount include:

  • Graduation in as little as 16 months
  • Free clinical placement support
  • Build on your previous bachelor’s degree
  • Exposure to health care policy near the nation’s capital

Marymount University has been a national nursing education leader for over 50 years. Nestled among influential organizations and health care providers, Marymount offers the benefits of Washington D.C. with the ability to study online and achieve your degree from the epicenter of health care policy and patient advocacy. 

We celebrate nurses and those looking to become a nurse. If you are looking to change careers, consider Marymount’s online ABSN program and access your program guide to learn more.

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