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19.1 Principles of Planning in Health Education Practice

Planning health education should be taken seriously using a multidisciplinary approach. Planning principles include completing a community health needs assessment to identify a community’s strengths, resources, and needs. Planning requires consideration of the community’s interests to obtain buy-in and participation. Additional factors to consider in planning should include using evidence-based teaching materials and considering the target population’s health literacy, different abilities, and culture. Cultural sensitivity should be the foundation for planned interventions to ensure they meet the needs of the community in question while respecting its culture.

19.2 Developing a Health Education Plan

The next step of community health education is to develop a health education plan. Learning theories should be the foundation for this process as they provide insight into different learning methods and help nurses and the team understand how people learn and how this can be applied to developing health education plans. Nurses should consider the client’s experiences, perspectives, needs, and developmental level. Socioeconomic considerations and literacy level should be evaluated to create and disseminate appropriate information in an accessible way. To create a safe and meaningful environment for all participants, cultural sensitivity should underscore each of these considerations. Widely accepted learning theories include behaviorism, social cognitive learning theory, constructivism, humanism, adult learning theory, and connectivism. Defining the client is imperative in developing health education. Clients can be defined at the individual, family, community, or population level. All curricular components should be supported by evidence-based materials.

19.3 Steps Involved in Planning Health Education Activities

After identifying the community’s needs and developing a health education plan, the last step in the process is planning health education activities to be implemented. Steps for planning health education interventions include identifying learning needs, establishing goals and objectives, selecting appropriate education methods, designing and implementing the educational program, evaluating the educational process and effects of the program, and determining if revisions to the plan are needed. Effective team communication is critical to successful implementation of educational activities. Teams should work to identify possible communication barriers and rectify them promptly to achieve their goals.

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