Health literacy — the ability of people to obtain, process and understand basic health information and health care delivery systems to make appropriate decisions about their well-being — directly affects every person’s ability to live a healthy, productive life. Yet according to a report from the U.S. Department of Education’s National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), only 12 percent of American adults possess “proficient” health literacy, and 14 percent exhibit “below basic” health literacy.
With advanced education and extensive experience caring for patients and their families, family nurse practitioners are equipped to serve as advocates by providing a much-needed voice for patients, their communities, their profession, and perhaps just as important, themselves. Here are some examples of how nurses are serving as advocates on a variety of levels.
Popular perception holds that individual choices dictate a person’s weight: Those who eat well and prioritize fitness are healthy, and those who do not, are not. However, developing research on childhood obesity suggests that obesity levels are not caused by lifestyle choices — they are intimately linked to genetics and poverty rates.
Traditionally, nursing students receive a short white coat to symbolize the beginning of their journey into the medical profession — on Sunday, Dec. 11, the first cohort of Nursing@USC students got to take part in the exciting ritual after a challenging semester that culminated in the school’s inaugural White Coat Ceremony.
Nursing@USC Chair Ellen Olshansky was recently part of the team that created the newest edition of “Maternity and Women’s Health Care,” which was honored as a 2015 Best Book of the Year by the American Journal of Nursing (AJN). In the following Q&A, we learned more about the evolution of the text, the role of evidence-based coverage in Nursing@USC curriculum, and the changing state of maternal health here in the United States.
Dean of the USC Suzanne Dworak-Peck School of Social Work, Marilyn Flynn, recently published a letter addressing the presidential election results and how important the social work community will be during the next four years.