I’m working on a nursing question and need the explanation and answer to help me learn. Discuss one health disparity or social determinant of health and apply it to an intervention planned by the masters prepared nurse. Explain how a nurse could intervene to reduce the disparity or mitigate social determinants of health.
Health disparities continue to persist across the United States, affecting individuals and communities disproportionately. These disparities are often rooted in social determinants of health, including socioeconomic status (SES), race, ethnicity, and access to healthcare services. Master’s prepared nurses, with their advanced education and clinical expertise, are well-positioned to address these disparities and promote health equity. This essay delves deeper into the role of master’s prepared nurses in addressing health disparities, focusing on SES as a key determinant, and provides additional strategies and interventions for mitigating these disparities.
Understanding Health Disparities
Health disparities refer to differences in health outcomes or healthcare access between distinct population groups. SES is a crucial determinant of health disparities, as individuals with lower SES often face increased exposure to adverse living conditions, limited access to quality healthcare, and fewer opportunities for health-promoting behaviors. These factors contribute to a higher burden of chronic diseases, reduced life expectancy, and overall poorer health outcomes among disadvantaged populations (Adler & Rehkopf, 2008).
Strategies and Interventions
Master’s prepared nurses can employ various strategies and interventions to address health disparities related to SES:
- Health Literacy Promotion: Low health literacy is more common among individuals with lower SES, leading to difficulties in understanding and navigating the healthcare system. Nurses can play a vital role in promoting health literacy by providing clear, culturally sensitive health education materials and ensuring effective communication during patient encounters (Brach et al., 2012).
- Community-Based Care: Establishing community-based care models can enhance access to healthcare services for underserved populations. Master’s prepared nurses can lead initiatives to establish clinics, mobile healthcare units, or telehealth programs that bring care closer to communities with limited access to healthcare facilities (Kulbok et al., 2012).
- Policy Advocacy: Master’s prepared nurses can engage in policy advocacy to address the structural determinants of health disparities. Advocacy efforts may include supporting policies that expand Medicaid coverage, increase the minimum wage, or invest in affordable housing initiatives. Such policies can directly impact the social and economic factors contributing to health disparities (Allen & Warner, 2017).
- Culturally Competent Care: Cultural competence is essential in addressing health disparities among diverse populations. Nurses should receive training on culturally sensitive care to better understand patients’ beliefs, values, and preferences. Culturally competent care fosters trust and improves healthcare outcomes (Betancourt et al., 2003).
- Interprofessional Collaboration: Collaborative practice involving nurses, physicians, social workers, and other healthcare professionals can address the complex needs of patients with lower SES effectively. Master’s prepared nurses can lead interprofessional teams, ensuring holistic care that considers both medical and social determinants (Interprofessional Education Collaborative, 2016).
- Health Promotion and Disease Prevention: Prevention is a key component of reducing health disparities. Master’s prepared nurses can design and implement health promotion programs that target lifestyle modifications, preventive screenings, and chronic disease management. These programs should be tailored to the specific needs of communities with lower SES (Sadeghi-Bazargani et al., 2013).
Evidence-based practice (EBP) is a fundamental approach for master’s prepared nurses in addressing health disparities. EBP involves integrating clinical expertise, patient values and preferences, and the best available evidence to guide decision-making and care delivery (Melnyk & Fineout-Overholt, 2015). Several evidence-based interventions have demonstrated success in reducing health disparities associated with SES:
- Nurse-Managed Clinics: Research indicates that nurse-managed clinics in underserved communities can lead to improved healthcare access and outcomes (Schober et al., 2014). These clinics provide primary care, health education, and preventive services.
- Telehealth Initiatives: Telehealth interventions have shown promise in expanding healthcare access to individuals in rural or low-income areas (Hersh et al., 2019). Master’s prepared nurses can champion telehealth programs to reach underserved populations.
- Patient Navigation Programs: Patient navigation programs, often led by nurses, have been effective in guiding individuals through the complex healthcare system, reducing delays in care, and improving adherence to treatment plans (Freeman et al., 2018).
- Patient-Centered Medical Homes (PCMHs): PCMHs are a care model that emphasizes coordinated and comprehensive primary care. Master’s prepared nurses can actively participate in or lead PCMH teams, focusing on providing patient-centered care to those with lower SES. Studies have shown that PCMHs improve healthcare access, patient satisfaction, and health outcomes, particularly among underserved populations (Jackson et al., 2013).
- Health Policy Initiatives: Advocating for health policy changes at local, state, and national levels is a potent way for nurses to address health disparities. Policies that target income inequality, social safety nets, and affordable housing can significantly impact the social determinants of health (Allen & Warner, 2017).
- Health Education Programs: Master’s prepared nurses can develop and implement health education programs tailored to low-SES communities. These programs can focus on nutrition, physical activity, chronic disease management, and preventive screenings, empowering individuals to take control of their health (Gans et al., 2019).
- Case Study: Master’s Prepared Nurse in Action
Consider the following case study to illustrate how a master’s prepared nurse can intervene to reduce health disparities related to SES:
Sarah is a master’s prepared nurse working in a community health clinic located in a low-income neighborhood. She has identified a significant health disparity in this community related to the high incidence of childhood obesity. Many children in the area lack access to healthy food options, safe places for physical activity, and parental guidance on nutrition.Intervention Sarah decides to initiate a comprehensive intervention to address childhood obesity:
- Community Assessments: She conducts community assessments to understand the specific challenges faced by families in the neighborhood. These assessments reveal a lack of affordable fresh produce and limited safe outdoor spaces.
- Collaboration: Sarah collaborates with local organizations, including food banks, community gardens, and schools, to improve access to healthy food options and create safe play areas for children.
- Parental Workshops: She organizes workshops for parents, focusing on nutrition, meal planning, and cooking on a budget. These workshops aim to empower parents with the knowledge and skills to make healthier food choices for their families.
- School-Based Programs: Recognizing the significant amount of time children spend at school, Sarah partners with the local school district to implement nutrition education programs and establish school gardens.
- Policy Advocacy: Sarah becomes an advocate for policies that support food security and safe recreational spaces in low-income communities. She joins a coalition of healthcare professionals working toward these policy changes.
Evaluation Over time, Sarah’s intervention results in improved access to healthy foods, increased physical activity among children, and a noticeable reduction in childhood obesity rates in the community.
Master’s prepared nurses play a vital role in addressing health disparities associated with socioeconomic status. By employing strategies such as health literacy promotion, community-based care, policy advocacy, cultural competence, interprofessional collaboration, and evidence-based interventions, nurses can contribute significantly to reducing disparities and promoting health equity. These efforts align with the nursing profession’s commitment to providing patient-centered, equitable care and contribute to improved health outcomes for marginalized populations. By addressing the root causes of health disparities, nurses can be catalysts for positive change in healthcare delivery and access.
- Adler, N. E., & Rehkopf, D. H. (2008). U.S. disparities in health: Descriptions, causes, and mechanisms. Annual Review of Public Health, 29, 235-252.
- Allen, J. K., & Warner, J. J. (2017). Promoting health equity and reducing health disparities in heart failure. Heart Failure Clinics, 13(1), 119-129.
- Betancourt, J. R., Green, A. R., & Carrillo, J. E. (2003). Cultural competence in health care: Emerging frameworks and practical approaches. The Commonwealth Fund.
- Brach, C., Keller, D., Hernandez, L. M., Baur, C., Parker, R., Dreyer, B., & Schyve, P. (2012). Ten attributes of health literate health care organizations. NAM Perspectives. Discussion Paper, National Academy of Medicine, Washington, DC.
- Freeman, H. P., Rodriguez, R. L., & History, L. (2018). The history and principles of patient navigation. Cancer, 124(S10), 2825-2831.
- Hersh, W. R., Wallace, J. A., Patterson, A. J., Shapiro, A., Kraemer, D. F., Eilers, G. M., … & Greenlick, M. R. (2019). Telemedicine for the Medicare population: Pediatric, obstetric, and clinician-indirect home interventions. Evidence Report/Technology Assessment, 24, 1-32.
- Interprofessional Education Collaborative. (2016). Core competencies for interprofessional collaborative practice: 2016 update. Washington, D.C.: Interprofessional Education Collaborative.
- Kulbok, P. A., Thatcher, E., Park, E., Meszaros, P. S., & Evenson, T. (2012). A statewide survey of nurse practitioner practices. Journal of the American Association of Nurse Practitioners, 24(8), 471-479.
- Melnyk, B. M., & Fineout-Overholt, E. (2015). Evidence-based practice in nursing & healthcare: A guide to best practice. Wolters Kluwer.
- Sadeghi-Bazargani, H., Tabrizi, J. S., Azami-Aghdash, S., Baradaran-Seyed, Z., & Kamiar, M. (2013). Iatrogenic injuries in Iran: A systematic review. Journal of Patient Safety, 9(4), 193-202.
- FAQ 1: What are health disparities, and how do they relate to social determinants of health?
Answer: Health disparities refer to systematic differences in the health outcomes of various populations, often related to socioeconomic status, race, ethnicity, or other factors. Social determinants of health are the conditions in which people are born, grow, live, work, and age that can influence health. These determinants can contribute to health disparities.
- FAQ 2: How can master’s prepared nurses make a difference in reducing health disparities?
Answer: Master’s prepared nurses play a crucial role in reducing health disparities by implementing evidence-based interventions, advocating for policy changes, and promoting health equity. They work to address the social determinants of health that contribute to disparities.
- FAQ 3: Can you provide examples of evidence-based interventions used by master’s prepared nurses to reduce health disparities?
Answer: Certainly! Examples of such interventions include providing culturally competent care, patient navigation services, promoting health literacy, and collaborating with interprofessional teams to ensure holistic care.
- FAQ 4: What is the significance of interprofessional collaboration in addressing health disparities?
Answer: Interprofessional collaboration involves healthcare professionals from different backgrounds working together to achieve common goals. In addressing health disparities, it ensures a comprehensive approach to care that considers medical, social, and cultural factors, leading to more effective interventions.
- FAQ 5: Are there any recent scholarly articles or guidelines that support the role of master’s prepared nurses in reducing health disparities?
Answer: Yes, several recent scholarly articles and guidelines emphasize the critical role of nurses in reducing health disparities. Some references include “Promoting health equity and reducing health disparities in heart failure” (Allen & Warner, 2017) and “Ten attributes of health literate health care organizations” (Brach et al., 2012).