The relevance of nutrition education for family nurse practitioners

The healthcare industry includes numerous professionals specialized in different aspects of health and caregiving. However, there has been a mismatch in patients with varying medical conditions and medical professionals available to address them. As a result, medical institutions have started employing different strategies to ensure they meet the growing demand for healthcare. In addition to utilizing technology and acquiring more equipment, one effective method is for medical professionals to educate themselves on specific aspects of related specializations.

Family nurse practitioners and healthy nutrition

Family nurse practitioners specialize in the primary and specialty care of patients of all ages and focus on preventive care, monitoring long-term health and assisting physicians with any issues that might arise. On the other hand, healthy nutrition covers the process of providing or obtaining the food necessary for health and growth. Considering both specializations, nurses can provide patients with an effective tool to maintain their health and mitigate the risks of some illnesses by proactively encouraging healthy eating habits.

Educating and training nurses to deliver healthy nutrition interventions is essential to improve health among all age groups. Yet, the adequacy of nutrition education within family nurse practitioner curricula has not been entirely addressed. Despite this, nutrition education remains an essential topic for primary care and family nurse practitioners.

Importance of nutrition education to FNPs

While the introduction of nutrition education in FNP programs is yet to be addressed, its benefits to the field are apparent. As such, it’s not uncommon for institutions such as Wilkes University to include this aspect in the program curriculum.

Typically, FNPs not only coordinate and provide patient care but also focus heavily on education. As a result, understanding nutrition and including providing the knowledge in their daily responsibilities can be effective in educating people on standard preventive health methods. Here are some ways nutrition education can benefit FNPs and the healthcare sector:

  • Reducing obesity

Obesity remains a significant problem globally. For instance, the US has an obesity prevalence of 41.9% from 2017 to 2020. With increased knowledge of nutrition, FNPs can assist obese patients by effectively educating them about healthy diets and workout routines, as well as developing achievable goals for improvement.

There are also numerous inherent risks associated with obesity that can be partially addressed with adequate care, such as infertility, high blood pressure, osteoarthritis, respiratory disorders, cancer and diabetes.

  • Diabetes care

Diabetes affects patients regardless of their age group. Family nurse practitioners often work with endocrinologists to prescribe medications and develop treatment plans.

Appropriate nutrition is important for patients suffering from diabetes in order to control symptoms. So, a solid understanding of nutrition would help FNPs prescribe medications and alter the patient’s eating habits.

  • Promoting healthy lifestyle

The dynamic nature of the world can cause high levels of stress among some adults. Stress is a leading cause of many medical conditions and something FNPs regularly advise patients about. However, aside from medications, healthy eating habits and lifestyle have been found to be effective in mitigating the risks of medical conditions related to high-stress levels.

Nutrition is essential to health as it incorporates everything the body requires to keep active, grow and remain healthy throughout the day. It’s vital for FNPs, whose primary responsibilities involve care for all patients, to be well versed in healthy nutrition.

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