(Principals Of Health Education In Nursing)
Definition of health
The World Health Organisation defines health as "a state of complete, physical, mental, and social wellbeing, and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity".
It may also be defined as "able to live most and serve best". Health in general is a value asset, though often one does not realise the value until it is lost through illness.
Health influences one's way of life. It improves personal efficiency and helps the individual in the attainment of most of his personal goals.
Effective Health Management
In order to attain the highest level of effective health system, awareness on the importance of the health education and sustained practices of the said guidelines is the most important component in the health care delivery system for all.
Definition of Health Education
The World Health Organisation defines health education as the "sum total of all the experiences, which favourably influence knowledge, skills, attitudes and practices of all individuals towards his personal and community health".
Health Education may also be defined as a process of change within the human organism, which is related to personal, and community health goals.
According to Alma-Ata declaration (1978), 'Health education is a process aimed at encouraging people to want to be healthy to know how to stay healthy to do what they can individually and collectively to maintain health and seek help when needed'.
Health education is the act of getting people to do something for themselves to attain better health. The nurse should remember that the practice of health education is not merely a simple speech needed only for ignorant people, but it is applied for all, rich and poor, young and old, educated and illiterate, sick and health individuals at all times, especially when they have "felt needs" for health.
Health education involves teaching about reducing health risk factors, increasing a person' s level of wellness and taking specific protective health measures.
Aims and Objectives of health education
To help people to develop an awareness of health needs and problems.
To acquire knowledge and skills on matters related to health and health resources.
To develop desirable attitudes towards personal and community health and to solve their health problems by their own actions and efforts.
To participate and co-operate with health workers and use health services for their maximum benefit.
To adopt the altered health and function.
Principles of health education
Some basic principles that should be followed while giving health education.
1. Interest - The interest of the individual or the group should be considered. For example a patient may want to know more about his illness rather than facts about environmental hygiene.
2. Acceptable - It should be acceptable to the people as well as the leaders of the community. People' s customs, beliefs, traditional habits and ways of living must be considered. For example vegetarians should not be advised to take meat.
3. Practicable - It should be practicable. Consider the educational level, income of the family, capacity to understand and the mental make up. For example, asking the mother with a poor income to take plenty of milk or meat is meaningless. Similarly asking her to take lettuce a leafy vegetable that is not commonly available or used in this country will not be practicable.
Also asking the mother to take plenty of iron, calcium and protein will not mean much to her, instead of which, mentioning foods rich in the above nutrients will be more helpful.
4. Participation - This is usually done by allowing free discussion.
5. Known to - One should start teaching the learners unknown from what they already knew and then explain the new knowledge.
Reinforcement- Repetition helps learning, Facts and points should be repeated frequently as it assists better memory and understanding.
7. Motivation - Motivation is another important factor to bear in mind while teaching.
The desire to learn, change or modify the behaviour of the learner must be created.
Demonstration- This is showing people exactly what to do by practical ways.
9. Learning by - Allow the individual to learn to do doing things by himself. Give sufficient time to practice when possible.
Establish good inter-personal relationship. This should start from the very beginning. The nurse should not be over - anxious or disrespectful even when eating with illiterate and poor people. Allow the groups or individuals to express their view and clear their doubts.
Adequate planning is essential even if it is a five-minute talk.
Health education should be carried out with the co-operation of the other staff in the department and in the community with the help of the local leaders, school teachers, dais etc.