Educating the Current and Future Nursing Workforce:
A Standardized Nursing Assessment of Social Determinants of Health
In Collaboration with: DeAnna Hawkins, MSN, RN, NEA-BC, Jane Mahowald, MA, RN, ANEF, and Carol Drennen, MSN, MS, RN
Problem Statement: Research shows that a person’s health is affected 20% by clinical care and 80% by opportunities where one lives, works and plays. These opportunities (or lack thereof) such as healthy food, housing, utilities, are referred to as the Social Determinants of Health (SDH’s). Gaps in achieving SDH’s traditionally affect vulnerable populations, often impacting people’s ability to attain or maintain health. Despite nurses’ best intentions to help clients be healthy, nurses have not traditionally been taught about the impact of SDH’s on their patients’ health outcomes or how to assess for SDH’s. The current and future nursing workforce (nurses in practice and nursing students) therefore have a need for basic SDH education and standardization in assessing for SDH’s as a basic component of a nursing assessment in order to advance their clients’ health.
Approach: A baseline survey was conducted among hospitals, health departments and nursing academic institutions in Ohio to assess for SDH education and assessment among nurses. Survey results revealed that nurses across the state were not assessing for basic SDH’s. A standardized SDH screening based on CMS’ core SDH’s was developed and piloted along with an educational module for nurses as part of a basic nursing assessment.
Products/Outcome: SDH assessment “tool;” accompanying educational module; pre- and post-surveys regarding Ohio nurses assessing clients for SDH’s
Implications: A basic nursing SDH assessment administered consistently will allow clients to be referred for services to meet basic SDH’s, promoting healthier clients and a healthier population overall.