Family nurse practitioners play a critical role in health promotion of family members. However, they not only promote health but also prevent diseases and introduce changes in patients’ behavior with respect to their health. The role of family nurses about which I was writing an article critique, as health promoters is complex and requires relevant experience and multi-disciplinary knowledge. Health promotion by these specialists produces many positive outcomes, particularly in regard to treatment and self-management of such long-term medical condition as hypertension, which is successfully addressed through practical application of the theory of planned behavior.
Risk factors of hypertension are formed at an early age, and changes easily occur during this period regarding patients’ attitude. Education is the core of the theory of planned behavior as it helps to prevent adverse behavior and thus avoid dire consequences related to hypertension. Nowadays, the disease prevails in the developing countries due to increased urbanization, significant stress, and changes in lifestyle (Popkin, Adair, & Ng, 2012). In order to increase the impact of education, family nurse practitioners often refer to behavioral change theories.
One of them is the theory of planned behavior (TPB), which is widely used in the medical field. It provides a systematic framework for education and mentions that the intention to behave in a certain way is based on one’s evaluation of self-performance, perception of behavior/conduct (ease or difficulties that a person faces when performing it) and consideration of judgment of other people, including tutors, parents, and friends (Kemppainen, Tossavainen, & Turunen, 2013). It provides a comprehensive framework to study behavior associated with nutrition and activities to confront conflicting motivations, which are mostly affected by social and environmental factors.
Application of the theory highlights the importance of attitudes, perceived control, and norms, and their influence enables family nurse practitioners to introduce relevant interventions and review people’s behavior to prevent hypertension (Karimi-Shahanjarini et al., 2010). If family nurses apply the theory, the majority of family members will engage in physical activities, review their habits, and start leading a healthy lifestyle to prevent hypertension or properly address it (Solhi Mahnaz, Karimzade, Taghdisi, & Jalalian, 2012). In addition to the theory, the workshop strategy has proved its appropriateness in the promotion of health education. Activities are based on problem-solving processes to provide favorable conditions for patients so that they can make relevant decisions regarding their health issues or behavior (Eldredge et al., 2016). Numerous studies examining this medical condition demonstrate the effectiveness of application of the TPB in promoting healthy behaviors in individuals since childhood until adulthood. All its components positively affect behavioral intentions.
For young people, educational establishments are suitable places where they can get relevant information from competent bodies on such serious conditions as hypertension to prevent this condition in adulthood. In this case, family nurse practitioners play the role of educators. To avoid or address hypertension, adult patients get appropriate medical assistance and treatment. Health improvement through education leads to the change of patients’ attitude towards their lifestyle. The application of education based on TPB accelerates intentional and perceived behavioral control in the context of physical activity (Michie, West, Campbell, Brown, & Gainforth, 2014). In addition to highlighting risk factors of hypertension in educational programs, it is important to engage family members of various ages in physical activity. Health experts, counselors, nutritionists, and nurse practitioners are responsible for implementation of such programs.
To conclude, the organization of an educational establishment based on the theory of planned behavior is effective in preventing and addressing hypertension, increasing perceived behavioral control and intention to change behavior and lifestyle, and reviewing habits. TPB can also be introduced as a relevant theory to produce and implement interventions in order to improve public health and prevent serious medical conditions such as hypertension. The role of family nurses in this context includes clinical practice, education, prevention, consultation, and follow-up treatment. These processes have improved availability of various healthcare services, enhanced patients’ experience, reduced symptoms of chronic conditions, and increased cost-effectiveness of care.