Health equity is the provision of nursing care that is equally accessible to all individuals, regardless of their social or economic status. This includes ensuring that all individuals have access to the same quality of care and that care is provided in a culturally and linguistically appropriate way. This essay analyses the importance of health equity, nurses’ role in health equity, social determinants of effective health care, and self-care strategies among nurses.
Importance of Health Equity
Health equity is significant in this report because it is one of the main goals of health care. Wakefield et al. (2021) contain recommendations on how nurses can help reduce health disparities and improve patient access to care. Nurses should be involved in policymaking, patient education, and research on health disparities. Nurses play a vital role in improving the health of individuals, families, and communities. They are uniquely positioned to provide culturally competent care and be responsive to diverse populations’ needs.
Achievement of health equity requires nurses to be involved in policymaking at all levels, work to improve access to care and reduce health disparities. Moreover, nurses should receive patient education to provide the best possible care to their patients. Patient education helps nurses to understand the needs of their patients and to provide care that is tailored to those needs. In addition, patient education helps nurses to build relationships with their patients and to better understand their cultures and backgrounds (Hosking et al., 2022). Nurses should be involved in research on health disparities because they are uniquely positioned to provide culturally competent care and be responsive to diverse populations’ needs. The report also states that nurses should be aware of their biases and potential to affect patient care adversely. By being aware of these things, nurses can help ensure that all patients receive high-quality, culturally competent care.
Health Care Social Determinants
The social determinants of health are the conditions in which people are born, grow, live, work, and age. They include factors like income, education, housing, and food insecurity. One of the determinants that can impact health equity is income (Holeman & Kane, 2019). Income inequality can lead to disparities in health outcomes because those with lower incomes may not be able to afford the same quality of healthcare as those with higher incomes. This can impact health equity because lower-income people may not have the same access to healthcare and may have worse health outcomes.
Moreover, lower-income people may have less access to healthy food, clean water, and safe housing, which are necessary to promote better health. One recommendation from the report is to increase the number of nurses trained in primary care. This can help achieve health equity by increasing access to care for those who may not be able to afford it. By increasing the number of nurses who are trained in primary care, more people will be able to receive the care they need.
Role of Nurses in Health Equity
Nurses have a major role in improving health equity and impacting social needs. They are on the front line of providing care to patients and have a unique perspective on the social determinants of health that impact their patients. They can advocate for their patients and communities to ensure everyone can access the resources they need to be healthy (Phillips et al., 2020). Nurses can also educate their patients on caring for themselves and their families to prevent disease and promote health. This helps them understand the factors contributing to these disparities and what they can do to reduce their risk of experiencing them.
Provision of care and services to vulnerable populations, nurses can help to reduce health disparities and improve health outcomes for these groups (Phillips et al., 2020). Furthermore, nurses can provide resources to patients, families, and the needy to help them access social services and other support systems. Another role is to serve as a role model for other healthcare professionals. Collaboration between nurses and other healthcare professionals can majorly impact the health of their communities.
Significance of Self Care
The importance of self-care in decreasing nursing burnout cannot be overstated. When nurses are burned out, they are more likely to make errors, experience job dissatisfaction, and harm patient care. Self-care can help nurses to prevent burnout by providing them with the opportunity to recharge and relax (Hossain & Clatty, 2020). Additionally, self-care can help nurses to develop a more positive outlook on their careers, leading to increased job satisfaction. Self-care can help nurses feel more rested and refreshed, decreasing the likelihood of burnout. Nurses need to make time for themselves outside work to relax and rejuvenate.
There are several ways that nurses can practice self-care. Some self-care strategies nurses can use to maintain their health include: eating a balanced and healthy diet, getting enough sleep, exercising regularly, and managing stress effectively (Mills et al., 2021). Nurses can also use evidence-based strategies to maintain their spiritual health, such as: participating in religious or spiritual practices, spending time in nature, meditating, and journaling. Nurses can also seek support from family, friends, and colleagues when needed. It is also important for nurses to remember that taking care of their personal and spiritual health is essential to care for their patients effectively. When nurses feel burnt out, stressed, or overwhelmed, it can negatively impact the quality of care they can provide (Mills et al., 2021). Therefore, nurses need to prioritize self-care and find evidence-based strategies that work for them to maintain their personal and spiritual health
Health equity is significant because it ensures that everyone has the opportunity to live a long and healthy life. Social determinants of health care play a significant role in health equity because they can help or hinder a person’s ability to access quality care. Nurses play a vital role in health equity by providing care and services to those most in need. Self-care strategies among nurses are important because they can help prevent burnout and promote a healthy work-life balance.
Holeman, I., & Kane, D. (2019). Human-centred design for Global Health Equity. Information Technology for Development, 26(3), 477–505.
Hosking, J., Braubach, M., Buss, D., Khayesi, M., Filho, V. P., & de Sá, T. H. (2022). Towards a global framework for Transport, Health and Health Equity. Environment International, 169, 107472.
Hossain, F., & Clatty, A. (2020). Self-care strategies in response to nurses’ moral injury during the COVID-19 pandemic. Nursing Ethics, 28(1), 23–32.
Mills, J., Sullivan, T., & Ross, C. (2021). Capability for practice: Rethinking nursing education to promote self-care and resilience. Collegian, 28(5), 469–471.
Phillips, J., Richard, A., Mayer, K. M., Shilkaitis, M., Fogg, L. F., & Vondracek, H. (2020). Integrating the social determinants of health into nursing practice: Nurses’ perspectives. Journal of Nursing Scholarship, 52(5), 497–505.
Wakefield, M., Williams, D. R., & Le Menestrel, S. (2021). The future of nursing 2020-2030: Charting a path to achieve health equity. National Academy of Sciences. Web.