What are preventive measures in nursing?

Preventive measures in nursing are an important part of the nursing process. It is a systematic approach to identify risk factors, prevent future complications and provide early intervention. This can be accomplished by performing assessments, educating patients and their families about self-care, being aware of environmental hazards and safety issues, documenting findings and concerns in the medical record, communicating with other healthcare professionals and providing referrals for treatment or services as needed.

Types of prevention

There are three types of prevention: primary, secondary and tertiary.

Primary prevention

Primary prevention involves using measures to prevent disease, disability or injury from occurring in individuals who are not yet ill. It includes public health measures that apply to populations and individual preventive medicine measures such as vaccinations.

Primary prevention is generally an inexpensive way to avoid healthcare costs associated with treating the complications of diseases such as cancer. Primary prevention can also help people who have an unhealthy lifestyle, such as smoking cigarettes, to change their habits before they get sick. Nurses can do primary prevention work with an advanced online family nurse practitioner degree, such as a Master of Science in Nursing – Family Nurse Practitioner. These kinds of online degrees, such as the course offered by Texas Woman’s University, help to expand your knowledge of advanced medical theory and help to improve communication skills to help prepare you for a career in medicine. 

The following are some examples of primary prevention:

  • Vaccinations
  • Smoking cessation programs
  • Physical activity programs

Secondary prevention

Secondary prevention aims to stop people from developing a health problem in the first place. It does this by identifying people at risk of developing a disease, assessing their risk factors and providing them with interventions to reduce the risk.

Secondary prevention aims to reduce the number of people who develop complications or die from various diseases. This can be accomplished by lowering blood pressure, reducing cholesterol levels and treating high glucose (blood sugar) levels.

For example, some people are more likely to smoke than others and therefore need to be targeted specifically. In this case, secondary prevention would aim to educate smokers about the health risks of smoking.

Tertiary prevention

Tertiary prevention is the attempt to prevent complications from diseases or injuries that have already occurred. It differs from secondary prevention, which aims to reduce the incidence of a disease or condition, and primary prevention, which aims to reduce the incidence of disease in a population through education, lifestyle changes and other means.

Tertiary prevention attempts to reduce or eliminate the effects of chronic disorders, such as diabetes mellitus or heart disease.

Tertiary prevention may target high-risk individuals who are already in poor health and have not responded well to previous treatments. It may also be directed towards those with chronic conditions who require ongoing monitoring and treatment. Tertiary prevention services include:

  • Counseling
  • Case management
  • Home visits
  • Rehabilitation services, such as physical therapy
  • Community support services, such as transportation
  • Education on managing symptoms
  • Medications
  • Self-care tools, such as books or videos

Final word

A preventive measure is any action that is taken to prevent illness or injury from occurring. Preventive measures are put in place before a problem is detected so that the issues can be minimized or avoided altogether.

Preventive measures are essential to maintaining good health. They help to ensure that we don’t become sick or injured and preserve our well-being. Preventive measures also reduce the cost of healthcare for everyone by reducing the need for treatment and saving lives.

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