You need to select and complete ONE (1) assignment topic from the list below:
1. Is health merely the absence of disease, or is it more complex and comprehensive? Identify two (2) factors that can influence a person’s view on health and discuss why these are relevant to nursing practice and care provision.
2. The “No Lift” approach is advocated by Worksafe Victoria as best practice for patient manual handling in the healthcare industry. Briefly describe Occupational Health & Safety (OH&S) and identify two (2) control measures implemented to meet the “No Lift” approach and discuss how they reduce the risk of musculoskeletal injuries faced by nurses within Australian health care settings
3. Standard precautions have been implemented to reduce the risk of hospital acquired infections faced by both patients and health care workers within Australian health care settings.Briefly describe Occupational Health & Safety (OH&S) and identify two (2) examples of standard precautions and how they reduce the risk of infection for nurses.
The question of what it means to be healthy is one that has brought about debate and led to increased research over the recent past. According to Australian Institute of Health and Welfare’s 14th biennial health report, Australia’s health 2014, health is beyond the absence of presence of disease and that it involves other areas of social, mental, and physical well-being (AIWS, 2016). As such, it is important for any efforts of promoting healthcare within the society to be directed towards to promote not only physical but also social wellbeing. This paper is going to review the various factors that may influence an individual’s view of health and the importance of such factors to care provision and nursing practice.
Factors that Influence Perception of Health
Health is highly important to every person considering its influence on not only how they feel but also how they participate or function in the society. Different researchers have acknowledged the importance of other social factors in determining the health of individuals. In as much as individuals may ail physically, their mental and social well-being are also major determinants of their physical state (Toska, Behrendt, & Erzberger, 2015). The experiences of an individual are highly important in determining their view of health, as some people are affected socially or emotionally by different factors, an aspect that impedes their attainment of all-round health. This paper assumes the definition of health as the state of being free from any abnormal negative situation that could either be physical, mental, or social. Two of the most important factors that are likely to influence the health of individuals include culture and education.
Education has proven to be a highly important influence of health in the recent past, with individuals judging the health status of different situations based on the level of knowledge they have on such situations. As such, educated persons amass a level of knowledge about the correct status of the various areas of their lives, an aspect that later influences how they rate such situations when they adjust away from the norm (Nandan & Scott, 2014). As compared to uneducated persons, educated persons may understand the other influences of health, which may include economic capacity and the accessibility of the health care services, an aspect that would lead them into judging themselves as unhealthy the moment they are impaired in such areas as they cannot guarantee their ability to come out of any critical health conditions.
The various experiences that individuals are exposed to in life may influence their emotional well-being, and prevent them from carrying out their day to day functions (Nandan & Scott, 2014). Persons who attend school are exposed to more information concerning what is termed as risky behavior and the implications of such behavior and what could be considered as healthy behavior. This forms the foundation on which they make decisions of what is risky and what behavior to embrace or not. Parties who are not exposed to such knowledge are less likely to have the same definition of health as those who have gone to school. Apart from causing lack of awareness, the lack of proper education means that individuals are not trained in any professional capacity, an aspect that may deny them a chance to get a well-paying job. Such individuals are likely to experience economic challenges in life that may affect their general wellbeing (Pérez & Luquis, 2013).
Culture is also another factor that influences how individuals view health. It could be defined as a pattern of customs, behaviors, and ideas are shared among a certain population or community (Brehm, 2014). It constantly evolves, with the speed at which it evolves also varying. Importantly, culture increases with migration of a group of persons into a new culture and embracement of such a culture. One of the aspects of culture that may influence the health perception of individuals is whether such individuals are individualists or collectivist. Collectivists consider themselves healthy based on not only their situation but that of the entire group in which they belong. Other aspects of culture that may influence the health perception of individuals include the beliefs concerning the causes of illnesses, how and when to get official diagnosis of disease, experiences and expressions of pain and illness, where to seek help, and the preferred treatment approaches (Rahaman, Holmes, & Chartrand, 2016). In the health care setting, both the perception of the healthcare provider and that of the patient are affected by their individual cultures. Nevertheless, in most cases, there is the establishment of a dominant mainstream culture that comprises of the various aspects that are shared across different cultures. Cultural bias leads to different perceptions and preferences when it comes to health issues (Brehm, 2014). Healthcare providers are required to be culturally competent, such that they can be aware of such differences and negotiate them.
Both education and culture are important factors to nursing practice, especially when it comes to influencing the perception of the patients about health. Through education, nurses are able to establish a body of knowledge on what pertains health and to share such knowledge with the patients to develop their understanding of the whole aspect of health and to grant them information that would allow them to make informed decisions (Nandan & Scott, 2014). It is important to note that health issues are as a result of immediate, basic, and underlying courses, all of which need to be adequately addressed to facilitate success. Education is also important as it provides nurses with the information they require on standards of practice, allowing them to apply proper frameworks that promote quality care. Culture is also an important factor for nurses considering the influence that their own culture and that of the patients they interact with may have on their practice. Just like the patient the nurse’s cultural background could cause cultural bias and result in them imposing their preferences and perceptions on the patient (Poulymenopoulou, Piraeus, Malamateniou, & Vassilacopoulos, 2013). As such, by studying cross-cultural professionalism, nurses are able to develop cultural preference, whereby they incorporate cultural awareness into treatment and diagnosis planning and inquire about the patient’s specific care preferences and beliefs. By demonstrating their awareness of the culture of the patient, nurses can facilitate trust and thus increased rates of diagnoses acceptance and treatment adherence, and the general quality of care.
It is evident that health goes beyond the physical state of the body and the absence of presence of illness. It also involves social, political, and environmental factors that affect the quality of life of an individual and contribute to their well-being. As such, it is important for nurses to acknowledge other factors that may influence the perception of health among individuals such as education and cultural differences and embed such factors in employing holistic care. Nurses should embrace cultural competence by ensuring that they have a better understanding of the culture of the patient and plan the treatment based on the preferences of the patient. On the other hand, providing the patient with proper educative material about their holistic care would be highly important bin influencing their decisions.
AIWS. (2016). Understanding health and illness. Retrieved from Australia Institute of Health and Welfare: http://www.aihw.gov.au/australias-health/2014/understanding-health-illness/
Brehm, B. (2014). Psychology of Health and Fitness. Philadelphia: F.A. Davis Company.
Nandan, M., & Scott, P. A. (2014). Interprofessional Practice and Education: Holistic Approaches to Complex Health Care Challenges. Journal of Allied Health, 43(3), 150-156.
Pérez, M. A., & Luquis, R. R. (2013). Cultural Competence in Health Education and Health Promotion. New York: John Wiley & Sons.
Poulymenopoulou, M., Piraeus, G., Malamateniou, F., & Vassilacopoulos, G. (2013). Specifying process requirements for holistic care. Informatics For Health & Social Care, 38(3), 302-312.
Rahaman, Z., Holmes, D., & Chartrand, L. (2016). An Opportunity for Healing and Holistic Care: Exploring the Roles of Health Care Providers Working Within Northern Canadian Aboriginal Communities. Journal Of Holistic Nursing: Official Journal Of The American Holistic Nurses’ Association .
Toska, M., Behrendt, D., & Erzberger, M. (2015). Prevention of Mental Health as Part of a Holistic Health Management. Psychiatry Praxis, 42(1), S39-S43.