The Health Belief Model was developed in the 1950s to better understand the widespread failure of screening programs for TB ("HBM," 2016). We use this today, however, people are complex and multifaceted. Lifestyle changes are the hardest to modify. In the 1980s an amendment was made to this model with incorporation of Self Efficacy. One's belief in their ability to succeed or accomplish a task can play a role in how one approaches goals and challenges. This makes one look inward and think of all the aspects of life that should be modified to be healthy. We see a rise of obesity related illnesses, and yet our diets are getting worse. We see tobacco still being used and we know the cardiovascular and pulmonary damage it causes. Lifestyle changes are possible and nurses can help in these changes by following the HBM.
In understanding benefits and barriers we can teach these to our patients coming from a place of their individual variable (age, gender, race, economy etc). In my population of L&D, we see many uncontrolled IDDM. This is a great teaching area because developing Gestational Diabetes elevates their chances of developing DM at some point in their lives, and increases their baby's odds as well. The HBM addresses the person's perceptions of the threat posed by diabetes (susceptibility, severity), the benefits of avoiding the threat, and the factors influencing the decision to act (barriers, cues to action, and self-efficacy).
The nurse can help the patient gain a belief that they can participate in the recommended health behavior (Amason, Lee, Aduddell, Hewell, & Van Brackle, 2016, p. 515-527). Teaching of added resources and community programs to help with promoting behaviors is a way a nurse can empower the patient. When patients leave the hospital, hopefully they will have the supports (Cues to Action) in their education from health care providers, influence of family, information from media, or even life experiences.
The growing epidemic of DM in women shows the need to provide education and assistance to them for the attitude of change to occur. Finding strategies to enhance education from nurses will benefit the patient. We as nurses have many opportunities to teach, educate, and promote a healthy lifestyle. As we learn the Health Belief Model we can be more effective in speaking to the patient as an individual with their limiting obstacles to lifestyle changes.
Amason, J. S., Lee, S., Aduddell, K., Hewell, S. W., & Van Brackle, L. (2016, July/August 2016). Pilot feasibility study of an education intervention in women with gestational diabetes. Journal of Obstetric, Gynecologic, & Neonatal Nursing, 45, .
Health belief model. (2016). In Wikipedia. Retrieved November 14,2016, from