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Using mass media within health-promoting practice: a nursing perspective


Dean Whitehead, University of Plymouth, Institute of Health Studies (Exeter), Earl Richards Road North, Exeter EX2 6AS, England.


Using mass media within health-promoting practice: a nursing perspective

For some time health professionals have recognized the growing importance of utilizing mass media strategies as part of their health-promoting practice. The ever-evolving climate of technology and increasing reliance on mass communications has further reinforced the position of mass media initiatives. The enormous potential for mass media resources to reach certain audiences and influence their health-related behaviours has become particularly well established. Despite these facts, however, it is argued that the nursing profession has been less than pro-active in acknowledging, accommodating and adopting such practices. Consequently, the incorporation of health-related mass media initiatives into nursing's health-promotional role remains an elusive exercise. The maintenance of such a position, it is claimed, is potentially damaging for the profession as a whole. In light of this state of affairs, this paper seeks to review the literature surrounding the nature and processes of mass media strategies, their relevance to health promotion and nursing, how they are currently utilized and how they can be incorporated further into nursing practice. In conclusion, it is argued that nursing should seek to become a more active user of mass communication/media technology — especially in relation to its health-promotional practices.