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NURS 5051/6051 Week 11: Consumer Health Literacy

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NURS 5051/6051 Week 11: Consumer Health Literacy essay assignment

NURS 5051/6051: Transforming Nursing and Healthcare Through Information Technology | Week 11 essay assignment

My mother-in-law was diagnosed with stage-four pancreatic cancer. What does that mean?”
“I’ve had a cough for 4 weeks. Should I be concerned?”
“I‘m thirsty all the time. Could this mean I have diabetes?”

The Internet has empowered consumers to retrieve instantaneous information about almost any health issue that arises. For example, a Google search for “measles” identified 12.1 million different links in a mere 0.11 seconds. However, today the problem lies not with finding information but with recognizing which information is up-to-date, credible, and valuable. Unfortunately, many health consumers do not have the literacy skills to sift through available information and identify that which is relevant. Nurses can play a valuable role in helping to improve consumer health literacy. In this final week, you explore how nurses can be involved in increasing the health literacy of patients.

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Learning Objectives essay assignment

Students will:

  • Assess the nurse’s role in improving the health literacy of patients
  • Formulate strategies for improving the health literacy of patients
  • Apply strategies for improving a targeted audience’s health literacy

In order to effectively manage their own health, individuals need to have competencies in two areas—basic literacy and basic health literacy. What is the difference? Basic literacy refers to the ability to read, even simple language. Health literacy is defined as, “the degree to which individuals have the capacity to obtain, process, and understand basic health information and services needed to make appropriate health decisions” (National Coalition for Literacy, 2009). Unfortunately, according to a Department of Education report on health literacy, only 12% of adults aged 16 and older are considered to have a proficient level of health literacy (U.S. Department of Education, 2006). Acquiring health literacy skills has become more complicated with the explosion of online health information, some credible and some misleading.

In this Discussion, you focus on how to help individuals find credible information on the Internet and develop strategies nurses can use to increase the health literacy of their patients.

To prepare:

  • Think about the nurse’s role in improving the health literacy of patients.
  • Consider the many ways patients access health information, including blogs, social media, patient portals, websites, etc.
  • Reflect on experiences you have had with patients who self-diagnose using online medical sources.
  • Using the Internet, the Walden Library, or other trustworthy sources, identify a resource that you could introduce to patients to help them evaluate the credibility of health information found online.
  • What are some strategies you could employ to improve the health literacy of patients?

By Day 3

Post your assessment of the nurse’s role in improving the health literacy of patients. Then, identify the resource you would recommend to patients for evaluating online health information and why it would be beneficial. Describe additional strategies for assisting patients in becoming informed consumers of online health information.

Read a selection of your colleagues’ responses.

By Day 6

Respond to at least two of your colleagues on two different days using one or more of the following approaches:

  • Ask a probing question, substantiated with additional background information, evidence or research.
  • Share an insight from having read your colleagues’ postings, synthesizing the information to provide new perspectives.
  • Offer and support an alternative perspective using readings from the classroom or from your own research in the Walden Library.
  • Validate an idea with your own experience and additional research.
  • Make a suggestion based on additional evidence drawn from readings or after synthesizing multiple postings.
  • Expand on your colleagues’ postings by providing additional insights or contrasting perspectives based on readings and evidence.

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