What is it about?

A criticism laid at the door of many nurses in relation to their health promotion activity is that they almost exclusively adopt a biomedical/preventative health education approach. When it comes to adopting socio‐political health promotion approaches, there is scant evidence that nurses implement these activities in clinical practice.

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Why is it important?

This article is designed to raise awareness and signpost the types of activities that nurses could be involved with if they wish to influence the broader social and political health promotion agenda. In doing so, it has developed an ‘effect’ programme model for socio‐political health promotion practice as a framework for those practitioners who wish to review their current health‐related activities and/or who are seeking to extend their range of health promotional practice.

Perspectives

According to MacDonald (1998), many nurses are already aware of their deficiencies when it comes to having the required skills and knowledge-base to implement broad- ranging health promotion programmes. At the same time, he also stresses the desire on the nurse’s part to overcome these limitations. One of the best ways that nurses can ensure this change is to contextualize their current health practices and ensure that they incorporate a range of appropriate models into practice – including the one proposed in this article. In doing so, the nurse can become familiar with the strategies that underpin broad health promotion reform and be more active in implementing them in practice. Effect planning models are valuable tools that can be incorporated into existing frameworks of practice given that nurses can adapt to a different ‘mind-set’ (Whitehead, 2001b,c). If health-related models are effectively implemented the nurse practitioner will be better equipped to implement more targeted health education/health promotion programmes. Health promotion models are designed to make health education/promotion practices more structured, leading to a much higher likelihood of successful evaluation and outcome. The broad-ranging nature of most contemporary health promotion effect models may not represent the health educational work that is currently undertaken by many nurses. Nevertheless, the more that nurses are willing to explore broader options for practice, the more likely they are to claim a prominent role in health promotion arenas, as well as ensuring that more of their health-related programmes are successful.

Dr Dean Whitehead
Flinders University

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This page is a summary of: Incorporating socio-political health promotion activities in clinical practice, Journal of Clinical Nursing, September 2003, Wiley, DOI: 10.1046/j.1365-2702.2003.00769.x.
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