28 Dec 2022


How to Be Health Literate

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Academic level: High School

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For a patient to be health literate, it means that they are able to obtain data, understand as well as process and even communicate issues regarding health information that are basic and that may enable their health, and help them avoid medical errors while in a health care facility. So to say, health literacy is one of the social determinants of health, and so, as a primary health caregiver, that is a nurse, I would hold the responsibility of ensuring that even minority group patients have the knowledge and understanding to avoid facing medical errors. 

To ensure that such a patient has this understanding, I would result in using plain language while communicating with them, whether verbally o in written form. I would also include visual aid such as videos and images that will promote their understanding of necessary health information, while also abiding by their cultures and language appropriateness (Cafiero, 2013). I can also use technological devices and applications to connect with my patient personally and help them understand health information further. 

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I observed a nurse provide care for two patients from different cultures, one from an African community that did not believe in scientific medication and another from China without knowledge of Basic English. For both patients, the best approach towards achieving better health standards was the use of specific communication techniques such as simple or plain language. This would help the caregiver help the patient with an African origin to understand the necessity of medication, and that it would do them no harm. As for the patient with Chinese origin, the communication technique preferable would have been the use of diagrams and extensively the technology. It would have been more comfortable for the health provider to use charts to communicate to the patient owing to their language barrier. Also, technologically enhanced devices such as smartphones also have translators so they could also facilitate their understanding of the problem. 


Cafiero, M. (2013). Nurse practitioners' knowledge, experience, and intention to use health literacy strategies in clinical practice.  Journal of health communication 18 (sup1), 70-81. 

Speros, C. (2005). Health literacy: a concept analysis. Journal of advanced nursing 50 (6), 633-640. 

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StudyBounty. (2023, September 15). How to Be Health Literate.


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