As a professional nurse, I care for people, families, and communities. I must also examine and meet my patients’ and clients’ learning requirements. However, the socioeconomic determinants of health considerably affect an individual’s learning demands, which might hinder their health and well-being. This paper will examine how socioeconomic determinants of health impact learning needs, techniques to overcome these obstacles, and two ways I can advocate for policy change to promote the health and well-being of individuals affected by these barriers.
Impact of Social Determinants of Health on Learning Needs
The social determinants of health include socioeconomic position, education, employment, social support networks, healthcare access, and the physical environment (FAAN & FAAN, 2022). These factors affect learning requirements in different ways:
- Education: Socioeconomic differences might limit access to adequate education, impairing health decision-making. Low health literacy impairs healthcare knowledge and adherence (FAAN & FAAN, 2022).
- Economic factors: Poverty and financial instability may lead to poor nutrition, insecure housing, and restricted healthcare access. These issues may impair learning and contribute to bad health (FAAN & FAAN, 2022).
- Social Support: Strong social support networks are essential for health and well-being. Lack of social support may lower motivation, self-efficacy, and learning capacity (FAAN & FAAN, 2022).
- Environmental Factors: Living in poor communities with little resources, high crime rates, and environmental contaminants might impair cognitive growth and learning (FAAN & FAAN, 2022).
- Access to Healthcare: Undiagnosed or untreated health disorders might affect a person’s ability to study and participate in educational activities (FAAN & FAAN, 2022).
Strategies to Overcome Social Determinant Barriers
Addressing these obstacles directly is vital to improving patients’ and clients’ health. Social determinants may be overcome:
- Multidisciplinary Collaboration: Socioeconomic workers, educators, community leaders, and policymakers may collaborate to address socioeconomic determinants of health. Collaboration enables resource identification, service coordination, and targeted interventions to meet individual and community needs (Butkus et al., 2020).
- Health Education and Health Literacy: Tailoring health education programs to people’s cultural, linguistic, and educational backgrounds helps improve health literacy and enable patients or clients to make educated health choices. Health literacy efforts should improve medical terminology comprehension, promote healthy habits, and raise knowledge of options and services (Butkus et al., 2020).
- Community Engagement and Empowerment: Engaging communities and empowering people in decision-making may help uncover community-specific needs and build sustainable solutions. Empowering people via education and skills training may help them negotiate socioeconomic determinants of health and advocate for change (Butkus et al., 2020).
- Policy Advocacy: Nurses may influence policy reforms that address socioeconomic determinants of health. This might include campaigning for additional financing for education, affordable housing, healthcare access, and community development initiatives. Nurses can enhance social determinant health outcomes by working with professional nursing organizations, politicians, and community leaders (Butkus et al., 2020).
Advocacy for Policy Change
As a nurse, I can advocate for policy changes that promote the health and well-being of those impacted by social determinant obstacles. Two ways I may advocate for policy change:
Legal Advocacy: Staying knowledgeable about local, state, and national healthcare policy concerns allows me to advocate. Contacting politicians, attending public hearings, and joining advocacy groups that promote education, affordable housing, and healthcare may be necessary. Nurses can affect socioeconomic determinants of health policy via collective action (Wise et al., 2023).
Evidence-Based Practice: Social determinants of health affect learning requirements and health outcomes; therefore, study and dissemination may advise policymakers. Sharing evidence-based approaches and success stories helps alter social determinant policy. I can guarantee that policy conversations include evidence-based suggestions by actively contributing to research and attending professional conferences (Wise et al., 2023).
In conclusion, the socioeconomic determinants of health affect learning and health. Nurses may overcome these hurdles via interdisciplinary teamwork, health education, community participation, and policy advocacy. Nurses may improve social determinant barrier-affected populations’ health and well-being by pushing for policy change via legislative lobbying and research. Through these activities, we can create a more equal and just healthcare system that tackles health inequities.
Butkus, R., Rapp, K., Cooney, T. G., & Engel, L. S. (2020). Envisioning a Better U.S. Health Care System for All: Reducing Barriers to Care and Addressing Social Determinants of Health. Annals of Internal Medicine, 172(2_Supplement), S50. https://doi.org/10.7326/m19-2410
FAAN, F. G., EdD,MS, RN, & FAAN, M. L., PhD, RN. (2022). A Population Health Approach to Health Disparities for Nurses: Care of Vulnerable Populations. In Google Books. Springer Publishing Company. https://books.google.com/books?hl=en&lr=&id=lgOBEAAAQBAJ&oi=fnd&pg=PA107&dq=Impact+of+Social+Determinants+of+Health+on+Learning+Needs&ots=o6pzRHjyKK&sig=wVf0SGrc9Bq18Pmp_qH2oquWLDg
Wise, J., Caiola, C., & Njie-Carr, V. (2023). A Fundamental Shift in Nursing is a Requisite for Achieving Health Equity: The Nurses’ Role in Addressing Social Determinants of Health. Journal of the Association of Nurses in AIDS Care, 34(1), 125–131. https://doi.org/10.1097/jnc.0000000000000383