Better health education, health literacy

I have realised recently as a health care worker, community based DN, when we have been so stretched and short of staff, how our job would be a lot easier if we had time to educate our patients better on the causes of their disease/ processes that have led them to us. This would help them understand and perhaps be able to take more ownership of their own health needs. A lot of pts come in and want to be "fixed" by us and seem upset when we can't instantly heal a wound due to underlying causes. They may come to us with a wound, but when asking about medications, some pts don't know what they are taking or why. One pt today in 50's had newly diagnosed pre diabetes. I was able to tell him how a change in Lifestyle now, may prevent any serious complications in the future, ie start some regular gentle exercise. Had I had more time, I could have gently discussed risks of not changing lifestyle, what happens with diabetes etc and reinforce what hopefully his GP had already started a discussion on. If DNs had more time to assess the whole pt, and work more holistically on "what matters to the pt" but even alongside that, what does the RN see as the 3 biggest health issues for each pt, and work on targeted education, in a way they can understand. We need to try and change the mindset that the health system is there to fix us always and every time, and change the conversation to "what do you need to do for your own health". We need to remove the ambulance at the bottom of the hill mentality (ie going to hospital and GPs when you are sick), to one where you see a GP/ nurse specialist/ DN (change scopes of DN or add a different service working in community closely aligned with a pts GP) to educate pts in their own environment around a range of health issues, smoking cessation, weight loss, BP control, wound care, what health issues matter to the pt. 
Along side this, it's probably been said before, but how about health education on our Tv? tV adds like the COVID ones we had, or even free to air TV show NZ made about kiwi health topics. Get some GPs, rural, iwi based, some from big hospitals doing a show on high BP, on weigh loss techniques and what obesity does to your arteries/ risk of diabetes etc in laymen terms. Get social media involved, take a quiz about your health health, with links to Health Navigator etc. That's some ideas from me, thanks. 

Why the contribution is important

Because the key to health is education/ knowing what good health is and how to get it. Our population is too big and our health care workforce too small to have everyone's health reliant on us, we need each and every person to be their own health advocate and they need knowledge to do this. 

by Manswelly on March 13, 2023 at 08:53PM

Current Rating

Average rating: 4.8
Based on: 8 votes


  • Posted by marlowmews March 18, 2023 at 17:48

    Perhaps once the system has developed consistent pathways to care, information about common problems and how to manage may be placed on the Te Whatu Ora website. Multiple media can be used to get the message across with good advertising of what is available.
  • Posted by Citronella36 March 19, 2023 at 10:49

    Like the idea of free to air shows on tv. Something informative but also entertaining.
  • Posted by gcpicard16 April 22, 2023 at 13:38

    I'm a Registered Nurse working in Primary Care. I specialise in managing metabolic disease (prediabetes/diabetes/obesity/PCOS/CVD) using Nutrition and Lifestyle advise.
    Our current health guidelines are completely out of date. Success is seeing a patient achieve normal blood sugars, de-prescribing, and improved health outcomes using a diet where you avoid processed foods and simple sugars, and limit intake of carbohydrate rich foods. Instead eat a meal that is nutrient rich, in the form of meat/chicken/fish/eggs or vegetarian sources of protein +2-3servings of veges, and some healthy fat at each meal. Primary Care and Schools are great places to improve the health literacy of our population, before they require secondary care from medical complications in our hospitals.
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