Currently, Nola Pender is “a Professor Emerita at the University of Michigan School of Nursing” (University of Michigan School of Nursing 1). Nola developed the Health Promotion Model (HPM) that has become popular among health care providers, educators, and researchers. She has taught nursing for over 40 years. Nola also has lifetime awards and honours in nursing. In addition, she has written several scholarly articles and books about nursing.
Nola proposed the model in 1982 and revised it in 1996 with aim of developing a complementary counterpart to models of health protection. The model goes beyond a mere absence of ill health to positive dynamics that promote good health. The model focuses on well-being of the patient by looking at several aspects that an individual interacts with in the environment. The focus is on the following aspects:
- Experiences and characteristics of a person.
- Behavioural outcomes.
- Affect and behaviour-specific cognitions.
The concepts of the HPM include:
The environment has influences on a person, but people also strive to create a favourable environment in which they can realise their potential fully. At the same time, people’s characteristics and experiences in life also shape their behaviours. The environmental factors include social, cultural, and physical aspects.
Individuals can manipulate environmental aspects in order to enhance positive outcomes in health promoting behaviours. Nurses have a role of providing treatments, but they must also collaborate with the patient, families, and communities with the aim of establishing the best condition for health promotion.
Critical aspects of the model
Nola aimed at influencing the behaviours that promote health by positive motivation. McEwen and Wills observe that the HPM has served as a framework for researchers in health promoting studies (McEwen and Wills 6).
Assumption of the HPM
- An individual strives to create best living environment.
- An individual can perform a self-assessment and determine his or her strengths.
- People prefer positive outcomes and growth.
- An individual can control his or her behaviour.
- People interact with the environment and exert influence on it.
- Nurses and other health care providers are part of the community that can influence positive health outcomes.
- People can transform their behaviours if necessary.
Relevance of the model
Nurses have a chief role of promoting positive health and preventing illnesses. Health promotion is effective for enhancing the quality of life and well-being of individuals in different settings. The model seeks to promote a balanced approach to life. In other words, people need to ensure that they have balanced physical, social, and mental aspects of life. The model can target individuals, families, a given group, community, or patients within a health care setting (McEwen and Wills 8).
Nurses can instil positive behaviours among patients through education and promotion of healthy lifestyles and habits.
Nurses have engaged in curative, disease prevention, and promotion of good health and well-being. The focus has been to enhance the overall health of patients. This gives nurses the role of public health advocates, educators, and promoters of health habits and lifestyles among their clients. The model has been effective for applying evidence-based practices in a health care setting.
Application of the HPM to nursing practice
Pender asserts that the aim of the model is to “assist nurses in understanding the major determinants of health behaviors as a basis for behavioral counseling to promote healthy lifestyles” (Nursing Theory 1). Nurses have the ability to exert influences and recommend best practices for their patients.
The model has been effective in promoting healthy living through physical activities among women cancer survivors. The National Cancer Institute noted, “Women who exercised moderately after diagnosis of breast cancer had improved survival rates compared to sedentary women” (National Cancer Institute 1).
The model has also been effective for promoting evidence-based practices in nursing courses.
A number of researchers have used Pender model as a framework for studying various aspects related to health. Some of the strengths include:
- The HPM looks at several factors that can motivate people to engage in health-promoting behaviours.
- The model focuses on specific interventions for an individual patient based on behaviours, goals, and settings.
- The role of nurses goes beyond treatment to health promoters by strengthening “resources, potentials, and capabilities” for each patient and providing resources and education to promote improved health and a better quality of life.
- Some studies have shown that “tailoring interventions has been found to increase intervention effectiveness” (Srof and Velsor-Friederich 366).
- Nurses and patients work as a team to promote positive health outcomes.
- This model cannot accurately serve a family or a community as a unit because it focuses on an individual.
- The HPM may not adequately address health needs of adolescents because adolescent cannot make independent decisions like adults (Srof and Velsor-Friederich 366).
- No sufficient data exist on health outcomes of adolescents.
McEwen, Melanie and Evelyn Wills. Theoretical basis for nursing, 3rd ed. Philadelphia, PA: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, 2011. Print.
National Cancer Institute. Physical activity and cancer. 2009. Web.
Nursing Theory. Nola Pender – Nursing Theorist. 2011. Web.
Srof, Brenda and Barbara Velsor-Friederich. “Health promotion in adolescents: A review of Pender’s Health Promotion model.” Nursing Science Quarterly, 19.4 (2006): 366-373. Print.
University of Michigan School of Nursing. Nola J. Pender. 2012.