What is it about?

The term health promotion has been used in healthcare for several years. However, the meaning of this term is debated, particularly in nursing. Some nurses might believe that, because they are healthcare practitioners working in healthcare services, that they are ‘by default’ automatically involved in health promotion activities; however, this is often not the case. Instead, they are more likely to be engaging in health education activities; that is, simply providing individuals with health-related information, rather than seeking to empower individuals, families, groups and communities. This article clarifies the 'real' position of health promotion and health education in today's healthcare context.

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Why is it important?

While health education is related to health promotion, these terms are not interchangeable, since health education is a component of health promotion. This article clarifies these concepts and describes approaches to illness prevention and promoting well-being that nurses can use in their practice with patients across the lifespan.


This is the latest 'invited' article of mine to assist clarification of health promotion and health education in health professions practice, theory, research and policy. It constitutes a Continuous Professional Development credit for this publication which is the offical 'newsletter/journal' of Royal College of Nursing (UK).

Dr Dean Whitehead
Flinders University

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: Exploring health promotion and health education in nursing, Nursing Standard, November 2018, RCNi,
DOI: 10.7748/ns.2018.e11220.
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