Integrating Healthy People 2020 into a Health Assessment Course
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Session presented on Saturday, July 25, 2015: Health assessment is one of the first nursing courses offered in the curriculum. With the advent of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act a significant focus will be put on patients' self-management of their health and disease. It is important that nursing students early in the curriculum learn how to assess health promotion and disease prevention and focus on health issues that are prevalent in this country. In my Health Assessment course I developed a writing assignment that introduces the students to Healthy People 2020. This assignment helps students begin to identify the role of the nurse in health promotion and disease prevention. In this assignment the student identifies one of the topics/objectives from Healthy People 2020 and gives a brief description why this topic was chosen. The student then retrieves a journal article which pertains to that topic and then summarizes the article. The main focus of the paper is to describe what important aspects of assessment the nurse should focus on and what specific areas of education the nurse should teach the patient as it pertains to the topic and objective of Healthy People 2020. The assessment is holistic and should focus on physical, cultural, emotional, and social aspects. The teaching can include signs and symptoms and lifestyle modifications such as diet and exercise. The evaluation of this paper was very positive from the students. Many students chose topics such as mental health and mental disorders because these issues exist in their family. Other students chose Maternal health because this is an area in which they want to practice. This activity introduces the students to Healthy People 2020 and the need for nurses to focus on health promotion and disease prevention with their clients.