Health Literacy Importance
The topic of health literacy in children becomes one of the most critical issues in pediatric and community nursing care. Since the target group is children from low-income urban areas, their neighborhoods and conditions may present essential challenges to their well-being. Namely, they need to receive relevant health-related information on their bodies and behaviors, which would ensure their self-sufficiency. This topic is rather important as childhood health attitudes would then develop and be used in their adult lives as well. Another essential factor is providing a range of skills, the use of which would equip children with relevant self-learning tools.
Identifying Roles of the Community Health Nurse
The first step in designing the health literacy program is the assessment of children’s specific needs. Consistent with Fairbrother, Curtis, and Goyder (2016), one may note that the target group should be regarded as the subject of the intervention rather than its object. Instead, the Community Health Nurse should focus on children’s everyday lives, as well as their concerns, questions, and interests. The understanding of the current health literacy levels is expected to inform the identified program design (Fairbrother et al., 2016). In other words, the role of the nurse is to determine what children already know and how they perceive care issues, then comparing it with health literacy objectives.
The assessment phase should start with the identification of the target group’s knowledge and skills that it already possesses. After that, Velardo and Drummond (2017) recommend applying an approach of child-centered health literacy, the main principle of which is the focus on experiences and the selection of the corresponding educational materials. The context and available resources should be identified specifically for each of the three age groups of children.
This means that the program may alter depending on the age of children involved in education and their needs (Velardo & Drummond, 2017). Also, the planning phase may include the initial consideration of evaluation tools that would be used after the program implementation.
The role of the Community Health Nurse at the end of the program may be formulated as the comprehensive measurement of health literacy improvement in children who received new knowledge and skills. According to Velardo and Drummond (2017), open-ended questions and a focus on transparency may be used as tools to reveal the positive changes of children about their self-care. The use of the self-reporting method may be offered by the nurse, thus providing children with the opportunity to express their ideas, perceptions, and suggestions. It is also important to pay attention to failures, mistakes, and potential misunderstandings that may occur during the program implementation. Based on these points, future programs may be designed with the prevention of any negative outcomes.
Support from parents and teachers may be needed to maintain the successful implementation of the health literacy program. The mentioned persons should act as improvement promoters and guidance providers. In addition, special print or electronic sources may be required to present visual information for better perception. For example, PowerPoint presentations may be sent directly to the program participants’ or their parents’ emails. The nurse should also provide a list of useful websites (for example, the American Academy of Pediatrics (www.aap.org), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (www.cdc.gov), et cetera) with official information regarding children health literacy and its benefits.
Fairbrother, H., Curtis, P., & Goyder, E. (2016). Making health information meaningful: Children’s health literacy practices. SSM – Population Health, 2, 476-484.
Velardo, S., & Drummond, M. (2017). Emphasizing the child in child health literacy research. Journal of Child Health Care, 21(1), 5-13.