The health promotion-focused nurse’s central role in promoting and maintaining health specific to families is to increase and promote health literacy among targeted populations. The level of well-being depends on the population’s awareness of health issues and their competent management. At the same time, one of the main groups to which efforts to improve the level of health literacy should be directed is families. This mission is the key focus of the Office of the Surgeon General (Office of the Surgeon General (OSG), n.d.). According to the website, “The Surgeon General is committed to ensuring that Americans of all ages, races, incomes, and education levels have the resources they need to read, understand, and act on health information.” (Office of the Surgeon General (OSG), 2019, para.2). At the same time, the emphasis is on citizens’ medical activity in relation to health issues. Medical activity is understood as people’s activity in the protection, improvement of individual and public health in certain socio-economic conditions. Besides, it is necessary for patients who provide care to family members to be informed about the diagnosed person’s health and the caregiver themselves (Parks & Novielli, 2000).
One of the critical issues that health promotion nurses among families focus on is preventing unwanted early pregnancies and sexually transmitted diseases among sexually active adolescents. In this area, as in others, improving health literacy is critical, with individual health directly related to family health. Since family health involves rather socio-economic characteristics of family members interaction, dispositions in society, and their attitudes towards health issues, it is essential that parents in cooperation with promotion-focused nurses take an active role in the formation of the children’s health literacy. The most closely related to the discussed problem Agency of the Department of Health and Human Services is HRSA, Health Resources & Services Administration, which deals with Maternal and Child Health topics (Health Resources and Services Administration, 2020). The most relevant goal from the list is to “increase the percent of adolescents, with and without special healthcare needs, who receive necessary services to make transitions to all aspects of adult life, including adult healthcare, work, and independence” (para.16). Early pregnancy is a medical, psychological, and acute social problem in modern society. It is imperative to psychologically prepare the child for the upcoming changes in their intimate life and continue to engage in sex education until it is fully established (Hopkins, 2017). Lack of knowledge about contraceptives, the feeling of fear when buying, inability to use them, or embarrassment when storing at home also leads to serious consequences.
Research shows that parents tend to underestimate the contribution of parenting to child health. Shifting responsibility on teachers and school health workers leads to the fact that as the child grows up, external control of compliance with the rules of health preservation by the parents weakens, which, if the skills of health-preserving behavior are not formed, can lead to a decrease in health. Family health also relates to the absence of substance abuse for both children and family members (The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University, 2005). In addition, family structure influences opportunities and competencies in shaping family health (Mather, 2010). The foundations of health are laid in the family; it is also the primary social environment for human development, especially in childhood. Various aspects of family functioning affect children’s health and well-being indirectly through social and psychological factors, including the family microclimate. In order to improve the level of children’s health, in connection with the identified unfavorable factors, it is advisable to focus efforts on such areas as increasing the effectiveness of state family policy in creating conditions for reducing the proportion of single-parent families; increasing the income of families with children, increasing the social and hygienic literacy and medical activity of parents. In these processes, nurses focused on health promotion should play a central role.
Health Resources and Services Administration. (2020). Adolescent and Young Adult Health. Maternal and Child Health Bureau. Web.
Hopkins, B. (2017). Barriers to health care providers’ provision of long-acting reversible contraception to adolescent and nulliparous young women. Nursing for women’s health, 21(2), 122-128.
Mather, M. (2010). U.S. Children in Single-Mother Families. Population Reference Bureau Data Brief. 2010, 1-4. Web.
Office of the Surgeon General (OSG) (n.d.). HHS.gov. Web.
Office of the Surgeon General (OSG) (2019). Health Literacy Reports and Publications. HHS.gov. Web.
Parks, S.M., & Novielli, K.D. (2000). A Practical Guide to Caring for Caregivers. American Family Physician, 62(12): 2613-2620.
The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University. (2005). Family Matters: Substance Abuse and the American Family. Web.