Health promotion and health education: what role should the nurse adopt in practice?

Authors

  • Lavinia Norton BSc MA RGN RNT

    1. Senior Lecturer, School of Health and Community Care, Leeds Metropolitan University, Calverley Street, Leeds LS1 3HE, England
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Abstract

Health promotion and health education: what role should the nurse adopt in practice?¶ Health promotion is widely accepted as part of the role of the nurse, midwife and health visitor. Theoretical definitions of health promotion and health education are presented. The author suggests that a variety of different approaches to health promotion can be adopted by nurses in practice, including education, persuasion, manipulation and attempts to promote an environment where healthy decisions about lifestyle can be made. Each strategy is examined and the advantages and the ethical limitations are explored. It is suggested that nurses may theoretically accept the notion of being a health promoter, but that in the reality of practice, their role may be primarily that of the health educator. The importance of recognizing that there are a variety of determinants of health, including social and environmental factors, as well as individual lifestyle, is emphasized throughout the paper.

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