Patients health literacy essay

Week 8 Discussion 700 Patients health literacy essay

The focus of this week was the processes involved in describing and critically analyzing a theory. Using the assigned readings and your professional experience as a starting point, answer the following:

1. Identify a strategy you frequently implement in your daily professional practice (e.g., assess a patient’s health literacy level).
2. Describe the purpose that guides your use of this strategy (e.g., to use best practice strategies to educate a patient regarding lifestyle modifications). Patients health literacy essay.
3. Identify challenges or barriers you often experience when implementing the strategy.
4. Select a theory that has been developed in the literature that addresses the purpose you identified in #2.
5. Describe how the theory could be used as a guide to overcome the challenges or barriers you identified in #3.

My daily professional practice is characterized by multiple activities involving patient care. One of the basic strategies that I implement on all patients is to assess their level of health literacy. The assessment of patient’s literacy levels involves the administration of specific tests such as a reading skills test that determines the ability of the client to code words. Patients health literacy essay Health literacy describes the capacity of an individual to process, obtain, and understand the health information and services essential for informed decision-making regarding treatment (Beauchamp et al., 2015).  The skills tested include communication and interaction skills, critical analysis, numerical, speaking, listening, writing and reading skills.

The purpose for assessing the health literacy of a patient is to get insights on how to best use practice strategies to educate clients about the modifications of their lifestyles to improve their health outcomes. For instance, I consider this strategy necessary because it orients me to the kind of client I will be dealing with and helps device a customized treatment plan for them that respects their cultural and literacy factors to facilitate effective communication. It also guides me on the type and mode of health education strategies to employ on particular clients Patients health literacy essay. This in turn promotes patient-centered care and facilitates the patient’s involvement in their treatment plan and self-care.

During my daily professional practice, I experience several challenges related to the literacy levels of the client ad their assessment. Dealing with illiterate clients is the biggest challenge since it disables communication between the patient and the providers. Moreover, cultural factors such as language diversity act as barriers to healthcare literacy assessment (Batterham wt a., 2016). The ability of the client to read and write in different languages other than English makes communication difficult and often demands the presence of a translator.  In addition, age affects the practice in that the elderly tend to be less literate compared to the young ones. Furthermore, ethnicity impacts the access of health education and thus undermines the process of implementation. Patients health literacy essay.

Health literacy is associated with the social cognitive theory. This theory focuses on the observation of attitudes, behaviors and emotional reactions that influence the human behavior (Stacey et al., 2015). In this case, health literacy assessment purposes to use best practice strategies to educate a patient regarding lifestyle modifications which begins with behavioral and attitude change. This theory thus guides the practitioner in studying the patient through observation thus devising an appropriate behavioral change plan that suites his capabilities, environment factors and target outcomes of the treatment. It also supports self-efficacy, self-reaction, self-evaluation, and self-observation which promote self-care.

The Social Cognitive Theory can thus be used as guide to overcome the above challenges in many ways. For instance, the observation of the client enables understanding of their cultural factors such as language, beliefs, attitudes and behaviors. This creates a foundation for approaching patients from this cultural setting and also in the formulation of lifestyle modifications that respect their beliefs and are generally culturally sensitive (Wang, 2016). This will help eliminate the cultural challenges associated with the implementation of health literacy assessment strategy. On the other hand, the theory is essential in guiding the practice across all age groups. Observation of the client helps in determining their age and their knowledge regarding health issues. This will in turn guide the nurse in modifying the lifestyle changes of the each age group depending on what they can read and understand. Patients health literacy essay.


Batterham, R. W., Hawkins, M., Collins, P. A., Buchbinder, R., & Osborne, R. H. (2016). Health literacy: applying current concepts to improve health services and reduce health inequalities. Public health132, 3-12.

Beauchamp, A., Buchbinder, R., Dodson, S., Batterham, R. W., Elsworth, G. R., McPhee, C., … & Osborne, R. H. (2015). Distribution of health literacy strengths and weaknesses across socio-demographic groups: a cross-sectional survey using the Health Literacy Questionnaire (HLQ). BMC public health15(1), 678 Patients health literacy essay.

Stacey, F. G., James, E. L., Chapman, K., Courneya, K. S., & Lubans, D. R. (2015). A systematic review and meta-analysis of social cognitive theory-based physical activity and/or nutrition behavior change interventions for cancer survivors. Journal of Cancer Survivorship9(2), 305-338.

Wang, Q. (2016). Why should we all be cultural psychologists? Lessons from the study of social cognition. Perspectives on Psychological Science11(5), 583-596. Patients health literacy essay.

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