How nurses help patients prevent illness

It is a popular belief that doctors are the pillars of the healthcare system. Although no one can undermine the value of a doctor in society, they aren’t the only professionals who are taking care of people. Nurses are an integral part of the healthcare community, and they do so much more than aiding doctors. One of the biggest job responsibilities they have is preventing people from becoming ill in the first place because nurses are the ones who are in constant communication with patients. Preventative healthcare has become more important than ever before as we learn more about how to achieve optimum health.

The role of nurses in preventing illnesses

Nurses are frequently checking in on patients and their recovery. They have access to their medical records and vitals, providing them with a detailed picture of the possible ailments patients should be taking active steps to prevent. 

Before they let a patient succumb to a potential disease, nurses put a lot of effort into educating them about methods of prevention. Nurses are now also equipped to use the latest technology to aid their work. Patient care has evolved dramatically thanks to the incorporation of AI in nursing. All of these factors make nurses the perfect healthcare professionals to work on preventative measures.

Some very common preventative healthcare tips nurses educate people about include exercising and taking care of their physical health, regularly getting screenings and check-ups, reducing the use of drugs, smoking or drinking alcohol, managing body weight, and maintaining pre-existing illnesses in a safe range. Many health-related problems, such as heart disease, blood pressure and obesity, can be avoided for a long time, if not forever, simply by being mindful of these problems and their causes.

Levels of prevention

Depending on the position that a nurse holds in the institute where they work, there are three levels of preventative healthcare measures that may be used.

Primary level

This is known as the most economic version of preventative healthcare because at this level, nurses try to avoid the problem from taking place by imparting knowledge to people so they can stay safe. The goal at this level is to promote positive health practices. An example of primary prevention is the immunization programs that are offered to people or advising them to wear their seatbelts while driving.

Secondary level

This level involves nurses taking part in regular screenings and tests in order to be able to detect the potential onset of dangerous ailments such as diabetes. These screenings make it possible for timely prevention, giving the nurse a solid chance to help modify eating patterns and lifestyle choices of patients so they can live a healthy life for as long as possible. The goal at this level is to control the risk factors that may prove to be harmful if ignored.

Tertiary level

At this level, patients have to be treated for ailments in a way that prevents their health from deteriorating any further. Despite their best efforts, nurses will not always be able to prevent the progression of their patients from the primary and secondary stages to the last one. At this stage, nurses come up with elaborate plans to help modify behaviors of patients so that their disease doesn’t get the best of them. 

Consider the example of cancer patients. When many types of cancer are detected in their earlier stages, it is often possible to treat them without causing irreparable damage. The goal is to prevent any future complications that may take place due to the disease in the absence of preventative efforts.

It should be noted that the first stage is about providing education for prevention, whereas the latter two require clinical care and intervention along with educational measures. This is why only certified nurses can provide this form of preventative education. If you can envision yourself providing professional clinical care to people who need it, consider getting a degree like the University of Indianapolis online MSN-FNP program and becoming a preventative healthcare provider.


Preventative healthcare has gained a lot of attention because it is better for everyone involved. Healthcare institutes don’t have to be overburdened with patients, healthcare professionals don’t have to be overburdened with work, and most importantly, people don’t have to needlessly compromise their health and well-being. Nurses spend the greatest amount of time around patients, so they are best equipped to provide guidance and education about preventative measures. 

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