This is essay is going to examine the principles of nursing and health. In order to do this it must look at the concept of health then describe the dimensions that make up health. Secondly, an adult individual will be chosen in order to discuss the determinants that affect their health. It will then go on to explain the underpinning professional, ethical and legal principles that would be taken into consideration if the individual were to require nursing care. Finally, it will identify how carrying out this assignment has informed the writers personal concept of nursing.
Before being able to describe the dimensions of health, it is important to look at the concept of health. Throughout the years, there have been many definitions of health, usually relating to the physical aspects of illness rather than a holistic view. The World Health Organization (WHO) provided a well-known definition in 1946. This states that ‘Health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity’. This definition contributed to the process of thinking about health as a wider concept as it demonstrates that other factors can influence health and wellbeing. The WHO further developed their definition of health in 1984. This definition includes individuals being able to accept and cope with changes in their environment as well as accepting that people strive to fulfil needs and achieve goals. It also very importantly suggests that an individual can have a disability but still considered as healthy. It is due to the complicated nature of health that the different dimensions are considered in order to gain a holistic overview of health.
The dimensions of health are all linked and affect each other. The dimensions are physical, emotional, social, spiritual, intellectual and environmental. Naidoo & Wills (2009, p.4) also suggest sexual health as another dimension. They describe this as ‘the acceptance and ability to achieve a satisfactory expression of one’s sexuality’. In other words being able to demonstrate your sexuality whether masculine or feminine and being accepted by society regardless. The physical dimension of health is usually the first concept that is thought of when considering health. This is due to it being the physical body. It is regarded that if all body systems are functioning correctly, being maintained and exercised, then the person has achieved good physical health. The genetic makeup of the individual is also important, as they can be predisposed to certain illnesses such as diabetes. They may also have certain conditions due to their genes, such as Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy inherited from their mother who is a carrier. Emotional health refers to the individual’s ability to accept and cope with their own feelings, others feelings and their ability to deal with these in a well balanced way. It is important for emotional wellbeing that the individual is able to communicate any issues and ask for help to deal with these if they require it. Communication is also a key component of the social dimension of health. This is building, developing and maintaining relationships with others, therefore allowing the individual to feel accepted in their social group. Due to this, the individual will have improved feelings of self worth, a positive self-image and an opportunity to learn the norms and values of their culture.
The fourth dimension of health is spiritual. Spiritual can include the individual’s religion as this helps to provide the basis of the person’s morals, values and ethics. Spiritual, however, is not solely religion, but simply ‘ways of achieving peace of mind and being at peace with oneself’ (Ewles & Simnett (2003 p.7) The intellectual dimension of health covers cognitive health and the ability to process information and knowledge while developing skills and learning. An example of someone with poor intellectual...