Health promotion is a powerful tool that creates a positive, lasting impact on patients’ lives. Health promotion educates patients on how to boost wellness through simple practices they can incorporate into daily life.

Through three basic strategies and five promotion action areas, you can help your patients live their best, most healthy lives.

3 Basic Strategies

There are three basic health promotion strategies per Rural Health Information Hub: health communication; health education; policy, systems and environmental change.

  1. Health communication helps people better understand health needs, equipping them for important individual health decisions. Taking verbal and written form, health communication encourages healthful activities and improves health literacy. It also bridges understanding with cultural considerations about health. Flu vaccination posters, brochures for health screenings and discussions with patients about heart disease are all health communications.
  1. Health education teaches people about different health conditions to bolster prevention or early treatment. These learning sessions are often focused on target populations. For example, poorer neighborhoods may be candidates for lessons on nutrition and physical activity to prevent or combat Type 2 diabetes.
  2. Policy, systems and environmental change (PSEs) round out the basic health promotion strategies. Policy change would include smoke-free entryways and safety equipment in the workplace. Systems change deals with the use of innovations, technologies or certifications to change how health problems are solved. Environmental change works to solve population health challenges with more parks and nutritious food availability.

Nurses can work with these basic strategies to promote health within the communities they treat.

5 Key Action Areas for Health Promotion

Health Promotion International lays out five key action areas for health promotion:

  1. Reorient health services. This works to improve the health of the entire population and to provide the opportunity for everyone to have access to health resources whether sick or well.
  2. Create a supportive environment. Surroundings that support health make it easier to achieve optimal wellness. Fostering an environment that physically and socially assists in health success is the goal. Eliminating harmful practices is also part of creating a supportive space.
  3. Develop personal skills. People have to understand pertinent health information in order to take the necessary steps to improve their own health. By knowing what could cause illness, individuals can be proactive in monitoring and supporting their wellness.
  4. Strengthen community action. People living in the same area or those with the same health concerns can bond together to advocate for policy changes and development of new programs.
  5. Building healthy public policy. Activities funded or conducted by the government can increase awareness, provide resources and education to help people take control of their personal health.

The goal of health promotion is empowering patients to make health-positive choices and actions. Nurses are uniquely located in the healthcare system to contribute to health promotion, given their one-on-one contact with patients. Ultimately, everyone benefits.

Learn more about the UMFK online RN to BSN program.


Rural Health Information Hub: Health Promotion and Disease Prevention Strategies

Rural Health Information Hub: Health Communication

Rural Health Information Hub: Health Education

Rural Health Information Hub: Policy, Systems, and Environmental Change

Health Promotion International: Applying the Ottawa Charter to Inform Health Promotion Programme Design