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Health promotion is an important element of the government's health agenda. Critically discuss this statement with specific reference to the contribution of the occupational health nurse.

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Introduction

Health promotion is an important element of the government's health agenda. Critically discuss this statement with specific reference to the contribution of the occupational health nurse. Health promotion is an important element of the government's health agenda. On forming a new government New Labour set public health policies in line with it's health agenda. Out of this rose a new white paper Saving Lives: Our Healthier Nation, which sets ambitious targets for life expectancy to be increased, and inequalities in health to be reduced. The Labour Government plan to achieve this through it's public health policy in a "third way" (Connelly 1999). Labour's policies are aimed at strengthening communities, and encouraging individuals to seize opportunities and take responsibility for their action. This essay will demonstrate how the Government hopes to address improving the health of individuals and reducing health inequalities through health promotion and how occupational health nurses will contribute. Firstly the issue of what health is and what health means to different individuals will be discussed. Once health has been defined the area of health promotion will be looked at, paying particular reference to the different theories and models of health promotion and looking at those that are relevant to the field of occupational health. Only then will the health agenda, and the contribution that the occupational health nurse has towards the government's strategies, be discussed in relation to health promotion and the working environment. The aims and objectives of this essay therefore are: Aims: To critically discuss the roles and contributions of occupational health nurses to the effectiveness of health promotion in the workplace in light of the government strategy Saving Lives: Our Healthier Nation and Securing Health Together. Objectives: * Examine the definition and concepts of health * Examine the theory and different definitions of health promotion and empowerment models * Examine the strategy of Securing Health Together and its contribution to the Our Healthier Nation white paper * Discuss the occupational health nurse's role in the contribution of these targets in relation to workplace health promotion Occupational health nurses are nurses who work within the working environment. ...read more.

Middle

believe that the aim of empowerment is fundamental with this type of health promotion as inequalities in health can only be addressed by health promotion work that is both enabling and empowering for individuals (Sturt 1998, Tones 1991). There are a number of components to empowerment (Tones 1991). Self-efficacy is the idea that an individual must believe that they are capable of change, this can be fostered through discussion with the health promoter or developed by the individual, however Sturt (1998) argues that efficacy acquired through verbal persuasion is weaker than that that rose personally. Self-esteem is also important if an individual has feelings of self worth then they are more likely to look after themselves and have a healthy lifestyle (Gillis 1993). Health promotion that is linked to self-efficacy enables the practitioner to work in a client centred way, ensuring the emphasis remains on the client's lifestyle and culture (Sturt 1998). Changes towards a healthier lifestyle would then move at a pace that is dictated by the client as they become more empowered and are able to work towards their own agenda. The fostering of self esteem by the facilitator, through praise for recent success can therefore spur the client on to continue with the lifestyle changes that they are undertaking. The three models of health promotion discussed above are all relevant to the occupational health nurse, who may find that they use a combination of all three models. As discussed earlier the Downie model of health promotion looks at the activities of health education, health protection and, prevention as being health promotion. These areas are all within the remit of occupational health nurses and are activities that the occupational health nurse undertakes on a daily basis. One could therefore argue that according to Downie's model the sole objective of the role of the occupational health nurse is health promotion. However, occupational nurses are involved in other areas, but Downie's model gives great scope for the occupational health nurse to target individualised health ...read more.

Conclusion

Health and Safety Commission (2000) Securing Health Together, HSE Books, Suffolk. Health and Safety Executive (1995) Self-Reported Work Related Illness, HMSO: London. Health and Safety Executive (1998) The Changing Nature of Occupational health, Norwich: HMSO Heather N (1991) "Forward" in RobinsonR, S. Rollnick & I. MacEwan (editors) Counseling Problem Drinkers, Tavistock Hodges, D. (1997) 'The role of the occupational health nurse', in Oakley K. (editor) Occupational Health Nursing, London: Whurr Publishers Ltd, pp1-29. Kendall, S. & S. Latters (1997) Health and Lifestyles: The Nurses Contribution, London: RCN, pp 74-80. Masterson A. (1994) "What is Social Policy?", in Gough et al (Editors) Nursing and Social Policy. Care in Context, Butterworth Heinmann: Oxford. Mcfall T (1999) Occupational health works, Nursing Times, Vol 95, No 42 p24 McKeown T. & CR. Lowe (1974) An Introduction to Social Medicine, Oxford, Blackwell Scientific Publications. Naidoo J. & J. Wills (1994), Health Promotion. Foundations for practice, London: Bailliere Tindall NaidooJ. & J. Wills (1998) Practising Health Promotion: Dilemmas and Challenges, London, Bailliere Tindall Prochaska JO & C. DiClemente (1984) The Transtheoretical Approach: Crossing Traditional Foundations of Change, harnewood, IL, Don Jones/Irwin. Prochaska JO, C. DiClemente and JC. Norcross (1992) In search of how people change, American Psychologist, 47, 1102-1114. Rodwell CM. (1996) An analysis of the concept of empowerment. Journal of Advanced Nursing, 23, pp305-313 Seedhouse D (1986) Health: The foundations for Achievement, Wiley Sturt J (1998)"Implementing theory into primary health care practice: an empowering approach", in Kendall S. (editor) health and Empowerment: Research and Practice, London: Arnold pp38-55. Suff P (2000) Spreading the word, Occupational Health Review, May/June.pp17-18. Thompson S (1998) Workplace well-being, Nursing Times, Vol 94, No19. Tones K. (1991) Health promotion, empowerment and the psychology of control. Journal of the Institute of Health Education, 29, pp17-26 TonesK, S. Tilford and Y Robinson (1990) Health Education; Effectiveness and efficiency, London, Chapman & Hall. Townsend P, N. Davidson and M. Whitehead (1988) Inequalities in Health: The Black Report and Health Divide, Harmondsworth, Pengiun. World Health Organisation (1946) Constitution, Geneva: WHO 1 1 ...read more.

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