How to write a nursing paper on Social Determinants of Health

How to write a nursing paper on Social Determinants of Health

Nearly every individual is impacted by the social determinants of health in one way or the other. Social determinants of health refer to the conditions in which individuals are born, grow, live, work, and age that shapes the conditions of daily life (Islam, 2019). These conditions affect how individuals perceive health alongside health-seeking behavior and access to healthcare services in the community. Social determinants can be categorized into five broad categories that include economic stability, education, health and healthcare, neighborhood and built environment, and social and community context.

Economic stability involves a person’s income, cost of living, and socioeconomic status that play a crucial role in their health. For example, an individual that has a well-paying job has the financial capability to seek healthcare when they need it and pay for their bills easily. Housing stability affects things like healthy eating, good aeration, and drainage that can influence the health of the individual (Islam, 2019). Education access and quality is another factor that influences the health of individuals. Well-educated people know when to seek healthcare, understand instructions upon discharge and avoid unhealthy behaviors. Additionally, the level of education affects things like communication that could promote access to essential healthcare services.

Healthcare access and quality is another factor that broadly influences the health of many people. Access to healthcare can include aspects like proximity to the healthcare centers, availability of adequate healthcare workers, and the right equipment or drugs for the patients (Islam, 2019). Individuals from developed countries or urban areas may have an advantage to healthcare access because resources are easily available. Other factors to consider may include health literacy and access to health insurance.

Neighborhood and built environment include the relationship between where the person lives and their health. It involves factors like the quality of housing, access to transportation, safe routes, and access to essential services like food stores (Islam, 2019). The environment a person lives in can determine the intake of fresh air and water that are influential to one’s health. Additionally, incidences of violence and crime can affect the health of many individuals especially adolescents. Lastly, social and community context involves aspects like workplace conditions, discrimination, and cohesion with the community that influences the health of many (Islam, 2019). These factors mostly affect how people relate, the help received when ill, and the mental and psychological well-being of individuals.

Chain of Infection

The spread of infection within a community is described as a chain that contains several interconnected steps that a pathogen moves about. The chain of infection can be described as a chain with six links. The first portion describes the pathogen which can include bacteria, viruses, or fungi that cause infection. Factors like virulence and the immune system of an individual can affect the ability of the pathogen to enter and survive in the body (Shaw, 2016). The second link involves a reservoir that includes any person or animal in which the infectious agent lives and multiplies. Upon multiplication, the pathogen exits the reservoir through means like blood, salivary secretions, or other body fluids (Shaw, 2016). The next part describes the portal of entry that may include mucous membranes, the skin, or the respiratory system. The final link is the susceptible host that includes anyone at risk of getting the infection.

Community health nurses can break the chain of infection through various means targeting each of the six links. For example, washing hands can break the mode of transmission of the pathogen through contact and inhalation. Actions like vaccination target the susceptible host to increase immunity that can prevent the development of diseases (Shaw, 2016). Community health nurses also can use approaches like isolation to prevent the spread of infections and personal protective equipment to disrupt the entry of the pathogen to the host.


Islam M. M. (2019). Social determinants of health and related inequalities: Confusion and implications. Frontiers in Public Health7, 11.

Shaw, K. (2016). Prevention by breaking the chain of infection. Nursing Times112(39-40), 12-15.

Related Posts:

Translate »