Health care professionals' perceptions of health promotion

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Farrell, Kathy
University of Lethbridge. Faculty of Education
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Lethbridge, Alta. : University of Lethbridge, Faculty of Education, 1996
The concept of health promotion is an alternative and emerging orientation. Here the belief is that all people have strengths and are capable of determining their own needs, finding their own answers, and solving their own problems. Most health care professional have been educated in the medical model of health. In this model, the health care professional, especially the physician, plays an active part as an expert on disease; the patient or client has essentially a passive role, and the disease rather than the person is the focus. The role of health care professionals in health promotion is an important one and will continue to expand with the new focus of the province of Alberta's health system. The focus of that system, and other health systems in Canada and abroad, is increasingly upon health promotion rather than disease treatment. The purpose of this study was to determine the perceptions of a variety of health care professionals working in the community and in the hospital setting relating to health promotion. The study takes a non-experimental approach utilizing a descriptive design. All professional staff including registered nurses, occupational therapists, recreational therapists, physiotherapists, respiratory therapists, social workers, dental workers, nutritionists, speech-language pathologists, and physicians working in Palliser Health Authority were asked to participate in the survey. Two hundred and thirteen staff responded to a questionnaire desgined to reflect their perceptions on the importance of health promotion, determinants of health, principles of health promotion, and skills and knowledge of health promotion. Staff were also asked to identify health promotion activities occuring at their work site, possible barriers to health promotion, and what was needed regarding training and support. Some of the major findings include: 1) Staff perceive health promotion to be an important part of their job. However staff working in the community perceive health promotion to be more important than those working in the hospital. Physicians were the least positive about questions pertaining to the importance of health promotion. 2) Staff perceive that the purpose of health promotion is to strengthen peoples' control over their health, but responses also indicate uncertainty concerning how control is to be defined and effected. 3) When asked to identify health promotion activities at their work site, the majority of staff pointed to the provision of information to individuals and groups. Community development was listed by very few staff. 4) When staff were asked to identify barriers to health promotion they identified the following in the order: lack of resources, old attitudes about health and health promotion, lack of support from the organization and doctors, lack of knowledge/education, and lack of communication between health care workers.
v, 101 leaves : ill. ; 28 cm.
Health promotion -- Alberta, Southern -- Evaluation , Medical personnel -- Alberta, Southern -- Attitudes , Dissertations, Academic