The National Academy of Medicine’s 2021 report is essential for nursing practice as it improves healthcare outcomes and promotes health equity. This paper emphasizes the importance of self-care in decreasing nursing burnout, reviewing the report’s recommendations, examining the importance of health equity, defining health social determinants, discussing their effect on health equity, and highlighting the nurses’ role in addressing social needs. Moreover, evidence-based approaches for maintaining spiritual and personal health will be explored.
The National Academy of Medicine 2021 Report and Health Equity
The National Academy of Medicine 2021 report emphasizes the importance of health equity to achieve optimal healthcare results for all people. Health equity ensures that health disparities are eliminated, associated with factors like geographic location, race, socioeconomic, and ethnicity and that everybody has an equal opportunity to attain good health (Lathrop, 2020). The report’s recommendations aim to improve access to quality healthcare services, especially for marginalized populations, and address systemic inequities.
Social Determinants of Health
Health Social determinants are the conditions in which individuals are born, grow, age, live, and work which tremendously influence health outcomes. Such determinants entail several factors like exposure to environmental hazards, socioeconomic status, employment education, housing, social support networks, and access to healthcare. They are important in creating barriers and shaping health disparities to achieve health equity.
Impact of Social Determinants on Health Equity
An example of a healthy social determinant is socioeconomic status. People from lower socioeconomic backgrounds may experience limited employment opportunities, healthcare services access, educational opportunities, safe housing, and nutritious food. Such disparities may perpetuate health inequities and contribute to poorer health outcomes (Lathrop, 2020). Socioeconomic status also influences a person’s ability to engage in healthy behaviors, afford healthcare, access transportation, and follow preventive measures.
The Role of Nurses in Improving Health Equity and Addressing Social Needs
Nurses are responsible for addressing social needs and improving health equity within their practice. As frontline professionals in healthcare, they often have unique opportunities to provide culturally sensitive care, identify social determinants of health, and advocate for vulnerable populations (Lathrop, 2020). Nurses may collaborate with interprofessional teams to create support for patients navigating social service systems, equitable access to healthcare, and providing health education. By addressing social needs, nurses improve health outcomes and decrease health disparities.
Significance of Self-Care in Decreasing Nursing Burnout
Due to its mental, physical, and emotional toll, nursing burnout may tremendously impact nurses and the care quality they offer patients. Recognizing the self-care significance in reducing nursing burnout is vital. Nurses may promote their well-being by prioritizing self-care and efficiently mitigating negative burnout (Kelly et al., 2021). Self-care entails several aspects, beginning with the nurse’s physical well-being. Engaging in activities that enable physical health, like preventive healthcare, frequent exercise, adequate rest, and healthy eating habits, may help nurses maintain their overall wellness, energy levels, and physical stamina. To address their physical needs, nurses may better cope with their professional demands, thus maintaining their ability to offer patients high-quality care and decreasing the burnout risk.
Moreover, self-care is significant for the emotional well-being of nurses. The nurse’s emotionally demanding nature and exposure to trauma and stress may result in compassion fatigue and emotional exhaustion (Nkabinde, 2021). Engaging in self-care practices which often support emotional health, like engaging in activities that bring relaxation and joy, seeking support from therapists or colleagues, and practicing mindfulness, enables nurses to maintain emotional resilience, process their emotions, and manage stress. This, therefore, helps nurses deliver compassionate care and maintain an empathetic and positive attitude toward patients.
Nevertheless, self-care also encompasses spiritual health, which prevents burnout (Kelly et al., 2021). Nurses may nurture their spirituality by practicing connecting with nature, prayer, meditation, and reflection. By nurturing spiritual well-being, nurses may prevent the connection loss to their values, find purpose and meaning in their work, and renew their motivation. Cultivating a spiritual sense promotes job satisfaction and resilience, thus contributing to better patient healthcare.
Self-Care Strategies for Nurses
First, Nurses must prioritize regular health check-ups, frequent exercise, adequate sleep, and proper nutrition. The nurse’s engagement in activities they enjoy, like spending time outdoors and hobbies, may also enhance their physical well-being. Second, enhancing their emotional self-care (Nkabinde, 2021). Nurses must engage in stress management strategies like seeking support from therapists r colleagues, mindfulness, and deep breathing exercises.
Nurses may also nurture their spirituality by practicing journaling, meditation, or prayer, thus enabling them to connect with nature. Finding meaning in their work and Engaging in reflective practices can promote their spiritual well-being. Finally, the promotion of professional self-care (Nkabinde, 2021). Nurses must seek opportunities to maintain a supportive colleague network, enhance their professional development, and engage in self-reflection.
The National Academy of Medicine’s 2021 report offers significant recommendations to improve healthcare outcomes and health equity. Nurses are significant in providing culturally sensitive care, promoting health equity to address health social determinants, and advocating for vulnerable populations. Moreover, prioritizing self-care is vital for nurses in maintaining their physical and combating burnout, spiritual and emotional well-being. By implementing evidence-based self-care approaches, nurses may enhance their spiritual and personal health, thus resulting in improved patient care and outcomes.
Kelly, L. A., Gee, P. M., & Butler, R. J. (2021). Impact of nurse burnout on organizational and position turnover. Nursing Outlook, 69(1), 96-102.
Lathrop, B. (2020). Moving toward health equity by addressing social determinants of health. Nursing for Women’s Health, 24(1), 36-44. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1751485119302284
Nkabinde-Thamae, G. J. (2021). Practices of Self-care by Professional Nurses Working at a Primary Healthcare Clinic in Gauteng (Doctoral dissertation, University of Johannesburg). https://www.researchgate.net/profile/George-Nkabinde-Thamae-2/publication/361490620_PRACTICES_OF_SELF-CARE_BY_PROFESSIONAL_NURSES_WORKING_AT_A_PRIMARY_HEALTHCARE_CLINIC_IN_GAUTENG/links/62b4702889e4f1160c95a078/PRACTICES-OF-SELF-CARE-BY-PROFESSIONAL-NURSES-WORKING-AT-A-PRIMARY-HEALTHCARE-CLINIC-IN-GAUTENG.pdf