Free Social Determinants Of Health Essay Example

Type of paper: Essay

Topic: Health, Nursing, Theory, Vulnerable Population, Sociology, Promotion, Nurse, Status

Pages: 2

Words: 550

Published: 2020/10/18

Health is a key and essential element of a person’s overall happiness and ability to efficiently function in a society. It is, however, an element that is affected by a variety of factors that range from genetics to environmental conditions such as water purity, air pollution and so on. However, one area of study that has been gaining prominence recently is the influence of social factors on health. Social factors include things such as employment status, working conditions housing and so on. The nursing fraternity is in a perfect position to recognize the impact that these factors have on both community and individual health and this consequently, places the profession in a perfect position to work towards modifying these factors in way that can lead to the improvement of health (Nickitas, 2011).
One of the theories that is often used to describe the social determinants of health and how they function is the theory of vulnerability. According to Nickitas (2011), the origins as well as remedies of vulnerability are usually rooted in the bonds of human communities. This theory recognizes two distinctive opposing forces; the rights of individuals and the needs and requirements of the common good. There is usually a lot of tension when it comes to these two aspects especially in the American society that has traditionally been very dedicative to individual rights. The theory of vulnerability looks at how the mediation or intercession of these two varying viewpoints shapes people’s world views as well as the options that are available to them (Nickitas, 2011).
This theory finds wide applicability in nursing. One area, where is in applicable, is in in health promotion. Health teaching and promotion is one of the elements in the ANA’s standards and scope of practice. Health promotion enables nurses to pass on knowledge to patients and guide them on how to maintain health a healthy status. After assessing, a given situation, a nurse then applies relevant promotion methods that are consistent with the values, practices, beliefs culture socioeconomic status, language and the developmental level of the patient (Marmot & Wilkinson, 2005).
A sample scenario in health teaching is one whereby the nurse is required to promote healthy habits to curb an infectious disease that has perhaps sprung up. A perfect example is the recent Ebola virus that hugely devastated parts of Africa. Cases of the disease were also reported in America. Nurses in various hospitals across the country were educated on the protocol to be observed when dealing with suspected Ebola cases. They were encouraged to promote healthy behaviors and lifestyles that could help curb the spread of Ebola. Unfortunately, such as scenario also exhibits the theory of vulnerability in action. Unfortunately, one of the Ebola-associated protocols involves immediate isolation of suspected individuals. It is not always that suspected case turns out to be valid. An individual who is complaining of symptoms closing resembling those of Ebola may simply be suffering from another ailment and may, therefore, refuse vehemently to follow the isolation protocol claiming that’s is a violation of his individual rights. Unfortunately, the nurse has to be more concerned with the common good that is to prevent other people from acquiring the deadly virus (Diderichsen et al., 2001). Simply put, the individual rights could put others at risk, and the nurse, therefore, has to mediate between these two, just like the theory of vulnerability stipulates.
Therefore, the theory of vulnerability clearly exhibits itself in matters related to health promotion. It shows how social factors such as a person’s belief in individual rights and the clash of these rights with the common good can affect healthcare on a general level.


Diderichsen, F., Evans, T., & Whitehead, M. (2001). The social basis of disparities in health (pp. 13-23). Challenging inequities in health: from ethics to action. New York: Oxford University Press.
Marmot, M., & Wilkinson, R. (Eds.). (2005). Social determinants of health. Oxford University Press.
Nickitas, D. (2011). Policy and politics for nurses and other health professions: Advocacy and action. Sudbury, Mass.: Jones and Bartlett.

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