Nurses: Building a Culture of Health in Mississippi Communities – 2016
Problem Statement: Mississippi’s health rankings, indicators and statistics consistently rank at the bottom of health outcomes being measured. Chances are that these health outcomes were influenced by the social determinants of health, which are defined as: conditions in the places where people live, learn, work, and play. It is these factors that need to be addressed in order to create communities in which everyone has a chance to live a long healthy life. The 45,000 registered nurses in Mississippi serve in many capacities throughout the State’s health care system and are strategically located to be a major influence in the health of individuals and communities. Their education and experience enable them to be a driving force for changing the health culture in Mississippi. Although nurses have historically been instrumental in recognizing the relationship between health and the environment, continued education on the social determinants of health and how to promote community engagement will enhance their ability to lead and engage in activities that will make health a shared value.
Approach: Educational materials were compiled or developed to provide to nurses on social determinants and a culture of health. Presentations were made to nursing and inter-professional groups throughout Mississippi. Nurses participated in development of the State Health Improvement Plan.
Products/Outcome: Resource list of social determinants and culture of health information, conference and event presentations, PowerPoint for presentations, website for information and sharing. Increased knowledge of participants about social determinants and building a culture of health.
Implications: Education on the social determinants of health should be a core component of nurses’ and all health professionals’ lifelong learning in order for them to have the competence, skill, and passion to take action and lead change on creating a culture of health in Mississippi communities.