Definition of Illness (Nursing)

by Samantha Rhea, MSN, RN

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    00:01 So now let's look at the opposing side.

    00:03 We talked about all these factors that affect health, how we view it, and how we cope with it as an adult.

    00:09 Now when we're talking about illness, we're looking at this definition as the state of disease that affects a client's physical, emotional, intellectual, social, developmental, and spiritual health.

    00:23 So much like the other definition, you can see how this really impacts the patient as a whole.

    00:29 So, in health care, we look at illness based on the time it affects the individual, so we divide it into acute and chronic illness.

    00:38 So, in acute illness, this is usually shorter duration in less than six months. Thank goodness.

    00:44 So this is usually either your flu or maybe even your common cold.

    00:48 Now, looking on the other side, chronic illness is at least greater than six months, however, when you're dealing with a chronic illness, it's usually years and years you are dealing with this.

    01:01 This could be something like diabetes, heart disease, or kidney disease for example.

    01:06 So, illness is rarely isolated to just the client alone.

    01:10 A lot of times it affects more than just our physical symptoms, so it definitely can impact how we behave, the emotions that we feel, and definitely our body image.

    01:23 So, one thing as a nurse, we need to consider that if someone has a new medical advice or patient, they have a new incision, a wound, or maybe even a below the knee amputation, that's definitely something that we need to consider as a nurse that this patient's dealing with.

    01:39 Another thing to consider is a patient's self-concept.

    01:43 Many times, I'll take care of patients and they're saying, "I can't believe this is me, I can't believe I'm in here.

    01:50 There's no way that I could be this sick, or this diagnosis does not make any sense." So, as nurses, be conscious about this with your patient as well.

    01:59 We also need to be sensitive that our patients are gonna have really big family roles such as are they the bread winner or are they the main caregiver of the family? And you can imagine that if they become ill, that's gonna severely strain the family dynamics of the patient.

    02:19 Also, it's going to make the patient stressed and also maybe their priority may not be their individual health, but they're worried about their family. So as nurses, keep this in mind.

    02:29 So far, we have looked at how illness can affect our emotions, our behaviors.

    02:33 We looked at those internal and external factors that can influence us, so now, let's take a look at what can put us at risk for illness or even injury.

    02:45 So first, let's look at situation that we're in. What situation could put us at risk? The first thing that comes to mind is a new 16-year-old driving a car down the highway.

    02:57 I don't know about you, but there's risk all around.

    02:59 Probably for the 16-year-old and all of those people around him as well.

    03:03 Next, let's think about physiological or psychological conditions.

    03:08 These can definitely affect the individual's risk, they can have illness or maybe mood disorders that can affect their health and that can put them at risk for other illnesses.

    03:18 Next, let's talk about habits.

    03:21 Many of you know our habit are definitely gonna put us at risk for disease or illness.

    03:27 Here's a prime example, smoking, maybe excessive drinking, substance abuse, could be even our food choices.

    03:35 So, maybe if we make McDonald's trip every single day, probably not the best choice for our cholesterol, number one in our dietary habits.

    03:45 Let's also think about our developmental or intellectual condition.

    03:48 And also, our social or environmental condition.

    03:53 So, again, talking about how, if we have a lack of food, even a lack of resources, maybe we're not able to get to the doctor.

    04:02 This is definitely going to put us at risk for illness.

    04:05 Something that as health care providers we really need to concentrate on and to be aware into assessing our patients.

    04:12 We need to check and see if there's signs of abuse or neglect, that definitely will put the patient at risk for illness or injury.

    04:21 Keep in mind, the patient's spiritual health is also gonna make a difference in their risk for illness or injury, so that support or factor that's missing in that patient and if that's particularly important in that patient, that can definitely affect their outcomes, as well as several other variables.

    04:38 These are just to name a few of the risk factors that can affect an individual.

    About the Lecture

    The lecture Definition of Illness (Nursing) by Samantha Rhea, MSN, RN is from the course Health and Wellness and Complementary Alternative Medicine (Nursing).

    Included Quiz Questions

    1. A toddler who has not received vaccines after the age of 18 months.
    2. An adult who works in a factory and is exposed to a lot of pollution.
    3. An elderly client who appears to be scared of their caretaker.
    4. An adult who cries every time they watch a romantic movie.
    5. An adult who drinks a few alcoholic beverages a week.
    1. Chickenpox
    2. Heart failure
    3. Osteoporosis
    4. Asthma

    Author of lecture Definition of Illness (Nursing)

     Samantha Rhea, MSN, RN

    Samantha Rhea, MSN, RN

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