Role of the Nurse Practitioner as a Health Educator
The modern concept of medical care considers the system of relations between health care workers and patients as one of the basic medical factors, which makes high demands on the level of development of socio-psychological qualities of the personnel of medical and preventive institutions. The role of medical workers in the implementation of preventive programs and teaching the patients a healthy lifestyle is increasing. The nurse becomes the main link between doctors and patients. She or he is responsible for explaining patients the prescriptions, gives advice on lifestyle, develops preventive programs as it is the best way to increase the success of medical care and recovery. Communication in nursing is one of the important skills necessary for the effective activity of a nurse. There are many roles a nurse can perform, and one of them is educating the patients and population in general. The paper explores this role of a nurse practitioner and provides examples thus contributing to a better understanding of this aspect of nursing activity.
There are many opportunities for a nurse to show his or her teaching skills. The bright example of the role of a nurse as a health educator is the responsibility for the development of educational tools. The educational tool is an information piece or activity specifically designed to teach patients about treatment strategy, type of medicine, importance of regular drug intake, safety, the information needed from a patient and his or her awareness of its importance for the best treatment outcomes (Meng et al., 2017).
The role of a nurse as a health educator is crucial in preventive health care. Nurses cooperate with population to help identify risk factors of many diseases (e.g. type 2 diabetes) (Stellefson, Dipnarine & Stopka, 2013). Many of heart conditions and other diseases and preventable. Nurses can teach about lifestyle, diet, help to control vaccination schedule, assist in organizing regular check-ups and screenings (Meng et al., 2017). The population health depends on how well people are informed about prevention of diseases.
Another important specific example is a woman health nurse practitioner. The educational role of the nurse here is to assist in family planning, inform about gynecological health as well as teach about prenatal and postpartum care. Despite the substantial quantity of information resources on this topic, many women are not informed well enough about these issues or they need face-to-face communication on such an important topic.
There can be very narrow examples of when nurse becomes an educator. For instance, the role of a nurse in prevention of hospital and surgical fires. The fires are a serious issue due to high risk, use of inflammable materials, anesthetics, etc (Guglielmi et al., 2014). Here, the nurse should inform patients about safety and nurses should be able to learn to cooperate with all the other hospital workers in order to prevent or eliminate fire danger (Guglielmi et al., 2014). In general, it is a nurse’s educational role to establish relationship of trust and mutual understanding with patients as it is impossible to provide information that will be understood and used without those qualities. Patient safety and future improved quality of life are of paramount importance for nurse practitioners. Therefore, nurses act as health educators in various situations: from communication with patients to communication with coworkers. Nurse practitioners should be specifically trained to be able to educate and inform the population as it usually has a positive effect. The diseases prevention is based on educational role of nurse practitioners and it is also a way to make population healthier.
In sum, nurse practitioners work not only in assisting with treatment, diagnosis and medical procedures. They have wider scope of practice. It includes educating patients as well. Nurse practitioners are responsible for collecting all information from the patients that could aid in diagnosis and effective treatment. Then, nurses counsel patients in how to prevent diseases, what is a good health behavior, lifestyle, diet. The information services can be both individual and at the community level via events and activities. Additionally, nurses serve as a link of understanding between a physician and a patient. Nurse practitioners play a crucial role in maintaining public health.
Guglielmi, C. L., Flowers, J., Dagi, T. F., Constantine, R. H., McKibban, T., Greenier, E., …
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Meng, L., Wolff, M. B., Mattick, K. A., DeJoy, D. M., Wilson, M. G., & Smith, M. L. (2017). Strategies for worksite health interventions to employees with elevated risk of chronic diseases. Safety and Health at Work, 8(2), 117-129.
Stellefson, M., Dipnarine, K., & Stopka, C. (2013). The chronic care model and diabetes management in US primary care settings: A systematic review. Preventing Chronic Disease, 10, 1-21.