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Health promotion

Health promotion
When people are talking to patients about health promotion, sometimes you might be pointing out some negative aspects of perhaps their lifestyle. So, for example, you might be talking to them about smoking, you might be talking to them about obesity and it’s really important that you are able to empathise with the patients and have some caring and compassion around the subject that you are talking to erm with them about. I think the most important values that need to come across is actually thinking about the individual patient that you have actually got sitting in front of you.
You know, there are numerous amount of public health issues that we could be talking to our clients about, but I think it is really important that you focus the public health issue to the person sitting in front of you. Public health nurses can work to empower their clients to make better healthcare choices, training and information and knowledge is power. Your specialist knowledge can then be imparted to your clients to help to make the right choices, for example, around immunisation, lifestyle choices, smoking, obesity, alcoholism and, so public health nurses are very well placed and have a particularly unique relationship with clients.
You never lose the values that you gain during training, so care, compassion, advocacy for patients and even though my role might be at a distance from the patient I am still there acting in the patient’s interests. Again, working as part of that broader public health team. So, you have different disciplines, you have got Local Authority people, you’ve got medical people, you’ve got the nursing profession and we each bring our own particular skills into forming the public health agenda to help our patients, our clients.
BPAS is a commission service and often the CCG’s are asking us so they’re the clinical commissioning groups, the people who commission our work, err, are asking us to play more of a role in public health and one of the ways they have done that is introduce something called making every contact count and its MECC, making every contact count and that’s about every patient you see having an opportunity to talk about some public health issues, particularly around obesity and smoking.
Empowering the patient to self-manage a chronic condition like diabetes, making them, giving them the education to understand fully what diabetes is all about and the related complications if they fail to look after their diabetes is giving them that power, showing them the evidence that if you do this little thing, this is the amount of good health you can benefit from, the little thing that you did, losing weight for example, or stopping smoking, or drinking less alcohol, this is how much you can benefit, or eating less fried stuff, or the Indian sweet and things like this.
For us, as a nurse within public health, is reading about what the changes are in day to day life, prevention is better than cure, doing health promotion as I earlier said, taking it closer to them, either in community centres, through the mosques or wherever that needs to be done, or even in GP surgeries. In my practice, for example, we have a session where the patients will come in to ask questions relating to their medical condition and we have external err persons who come into listen to that and helping them to care for their loved ones. So, its putting those services together and making the patients know that they are there and colleagues equally to tap into it.
I believe that is what we should be doing.

As a useful starting point to the week, watch the video and listen to what some nurses have to say about health promotion in their practice.

Reflect on the idea that, while nurses consider health promotion important and integral to their role, research suggests that a number of factors influence the scope and extent of their health promotion activity in clinical practice (Kemppainen et al. 2012).


Kemppainen, V., Tossavainene, K., and Turunen, H. (2012) ‘Nurses’ Roles in Health Promotion Practice: an Integrative Review’. Health Promotion International [online] 28 (4), 490-500. available from [19 June 2018]

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Public Health and Nursing: Drive Public Health Promotion

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