Improving nursing student skills in assessing and addressing the social determinants of health
Public health science has documented that most (50–80%) of what impacts individual health and illness is non-medical in nature, including environmental conditions, behavioral factors, and social factors. This is referred to as the social determinants of health (SDOH). As the health care system moves to value based payments, it is becoming increasingly important that these social determinants of health are addressed to improve health outcomes for individuals, families, and communities.
Nursing has always seen a role for itself in addressing the patient holistically, including the social determinants of health, but it is not clear how nurses are being prepared to do this effectively. What knowledge and skills do nurses need to address the SDOH? How can this knowledge and skill set be taught-and relevant competencies assessed- within and across the nursing curriculum? Nursing educators are critical in ensuring that the nursing workforce of the future can demonstrate effective nursing practice, including working with patients/clients to address the SDOH.