Inagural lecture of the Health Education Council's Annual Health Education Seminar, held at the University of Surrey, 2–6 April 1979.
The challenge of health education for nurses in the 1980s*
Article first published online: 22 DEC 2006
Journal of Advanced Nursing
Volume 4, Issue 5, pages 531–543, September 1979
How to Cite
Smith, J. P. (1979), The challenge of health education for nurses in the 1980s. Journal of Advanced Nursing, 4: 531–543. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2648.1979.tb00886.x
- Issue published online: 22 DEC 2006
- Article first published online: 22 DEC 2006
- Accepted for publication 2 April 1979
As nurses are the largest group of health workers, it is argued that their potential for influence, so far as health education is concerned, is very great.
The health problems associated with demographic changes in British society, smoking, alcohol, road accidents, dental decay, mental health and the sexual revolution are focused on; and the health education contribution that nurses (and other health workers) can make to alleviate and prevent these problems is discussed. The important role of ‘significant others’ is also stressed.
Problems associated with general lack of basic biological and health information, and with the physically handicapped, and immigrant groups are also noted with concern and are considered to be particular challenges to nurses.
Nurses are urged to develop their social skills, to constantly update their knowledge about British society, and to commit themselves to the aims of health education. It is also argued that they need missionary zeal so that they will take health education to the people in the community at large.
The basic tenet of the paper is that health education is part and parcel of the nursing process and, therefore, greater involvement of nurses in health education is a logical and rational extension of their role.