View All Articles
  • 24 April 2023
  • 9 min read

The Role Of Nurses In Tackling Health Inequalities

Subscribe To Advice
    • Richard Gill
    • Matt Farrah
  • 0
  • 5902
Nurses play a crucial role in health inequalities“Nurses play a crucial role in addressing health inequalities in the UK, through their work in the healthcare system and in the wider community; they are often the first point of contact for patients, and so have an important part in identifying and addressing health inequalities.”

In this thoughtful and relevant article, Amira examines the prevalence and causes of health inequalities in the UK, and the vital part nurses play in addressing them.

Health inequalities are a major issue across the United Kingdom, with significant disparities in health outcomes across different socioeconomic groups.

This article will explore the causes of health inequalities in the UK, and how nurses can help to address them.

Defining Health Inequalities

Health inequalities can be defined as differences in health status or outcomes between different groups of people, which are avoidable, unfair, and unjust.

These inequalities are closely linked to social determinants of health, such as poverty, education, housing, employment, and access to healthcare.

Despite efforts to address health inequalities, they continue to persist in the UK, particularly in relation to conditions such as cardiovascular disease, cancer, diabetes, and mental health.

Nurses play a crucial role in addressing health inequalities in the UK, through their work in the healthcare system and in the wider community; they are often the first point of contact for patients, and therefore have an important part in identifying and addressing health inequalities.

Find healthcare jobs

1000s of jobs for nurses, AHPs, clinicians, care assistants, managers and more. Jobs in care homes, hospitals, and the community

Find jobs

Causes of Health Inequalities

There are a range of social determinants of health that contribute to health inequalities in the UK.

Poverty

One of the key drivers is poverty, which is closely linked to poor health outcomes. People living in poverty are more likely to experience poor health, resulting from factors such as poor nutrition, inadequate housing, and limited access to healthcare.

In addition, people living in poverty are more likely to engage in unhealthy behaviours, such as smoking, drinking, and substance misuse.

Get Hired

Upload or create your CV on Nurses.co.uk. Our CV building tool is designed specifically for UK healthcare. Use it to apply for jobs and get hired.

Get Hired

Education

Another important factor is education. People with lower levels of education are more likely to experience poor health outcomes, due to factors such as limited access to information and resources, and limited opportunities for employment and social mobility.

Education is also closely linked to income, with people who have higher levels of education typically earning more and having greater access to resources and opportunities.

Nurses play a crucial role in addressing health inequalities in the UK, through their work in the healthcare system and in the wider community; they are often the first point of contact for patients, and so have an important part in identifying and addressing health inequalities.

Housing

Housing is another important social determinant of health. Poor housing conditions, such as overcrowding, dampness, and lack of heating can have a significant impact on health outcomes, particularly for vulnerable groups such as children and older people.

In addition, people living in poor quality housing may be more exposed to environmental hazards such as pollution, which can have a negative impact on health.

Subscribe and get even more - for free

Access peer-to-peer career insights, our self-help coaching guide, plus expert videos on wellbeing, self-care and mental health.

Subscribe

Employment

Employment is also closely linked to health outcomes, with people who are unemployed or in low-paid work more likely to experience poor health. This may be due to factors such as stress, poor working conditions, and limited access to resources such as healthy food and exercise facilities.

Access To Healthcare

Finally, access to healthcare is also an important factor in health inequalities. People living in deprived areas may have limited access to healthcare services, due to factors such as transport links and availability of services.

In addition, people from certain ethnic minority groups may experience language and cultural barriers that limit their access to healthcare services.

Addressing Health Inequalities: The Role of Nurses

Nurses have an important role to play in addressing health inequalities in the UK. They are ideally placed to identify and address health inequalities, as they are often the first point of contact for patients in the healthcare system.

Furthermore, nurses often work in community settings, where they can engage with vulnerable groups and provide support and education around healthy lifestyles and health promotion.

By providing education and support around healthy lifestyles, improving access to healthcare services, and providing support and education around mental health, nurses can help to reduce health inequalities and improve health outcomes for all.

Health Promotion & Disease Prevention

One key role for nurses is in health promotion and disease prevention. Nurses can provide information and education to patients about healthy lifestyle choices, such as healthy eating, exercise, and smoking cessation.

Additionally, they can work with local community groups and schools to provide education and support around healthy behaviours.

Improving Access To Healthcare Services

Nurses can also work to improve access to healthcare services, particularly for vulnerable groups such as homeless people, refugees and asylum seekers, and people with disabilities.

This may involve working with local community groups and charities to provide outreach services, or providing transport or translation services to help people access healthcare services.

Providing Support, Education & Advocacy

Another important role for nurses is in providing support and education around mental health. Increasing health promotion and education around mental health can improve health outcomes and can help reduce health inequalities.

Advocating on behalf of patients one way to tackle health inequalities. This is because advocating will ensure you have prioritised patient care to ensure they are able to access the services they need.

Seeking support groups who share a similar ethnic background to patients may also help increase the likelihood of patients accessing services and improving healthcare outcomes.

Conclusion

Health inequalities are a significant issue in the UK, with a range of social determinants of health contributing to disparities in health outcomes across different socioeconomic groups.

Nurses play a crucial role in addressing health inequalities, through their work in the healthcare system and in the wider community.

As seen above, by providing education and support around healthy lifestyles, improving access to healthcare services, and providing support and education around mental health, nurses can help to reduce health inequalities and improve health outcomes for all.

It is essential that nurses continue to play an active role in addressing health inequalities, as part of a broader effort to create a more equitable and just healthcare system in the UK.

About the author

I’m Amira, I qualified as an Adult Nurse over a year ago and I have been working in theatres since qualifying. I am an adult trained nurse working in a paediatric hospital. I specialise in spines, trauma and orthopaedics. Outside of work I am a keen baker and fitness enthusiast.

    • Richard Gill
    • Matt Farrah
  • 0
  • 5902

Want to get involved in the discussion
Sign In Join

Get Hired

Use your stored CV to apply for jobs and get hired.

Get Hired