Health promotion and health education practice: nurses’ perceptions


D. Whitehead:


Title. Health promotion and health education practice: nurses’ perceptions

Aim.  This paper is a report of a study to explore nurses’ perceptions of health promotion and health education practice in a Chinese provincial hospital.

Background.  Health promotion and health education practices are based on universal constructs. Therefore, such practices should share common principles. To date, most nursing-related studies have been conducted in Europe or in North America.

Method.  A Husserlian phenomenological approach was adopted. Interviews were conducted in 2006 with a sample of eight nursing students and eight senior nurses. The interviews were audio-recorded and transcribed from Mandarin to English. Data analysis adhered to the framework developed by Giorgi.

Results.  Reported health education and health promotion-related practices showed results similar to those reported in Europe and North America. Hospital-based nurses were often aware of what health promotion is, but did not have the scope or opportunity to implement it in practice. Instead, they were likely to conduct more limited forms of health education. Actual understanding of health promotion and health education constructs was high with most participants, underpinned by active clinical-based educational support. Some participants were able to conduct broader health promotion activities on a voluntary basis in their own communities.

Conclusion.  Health education and health promotion are universal health-related constructs. Thus, there is an expectation that all nurses will implement these in a similar fashion. Where possible, hospital-based nurses should strive to improve their health education practices and further embrace wider perspectives of health promotion practice.