Social Determinants of Health and Disparity in the United States

Various sociopolitical issues affect people’s health and healthcare sector in the United States. One of the aspects with such an influence includes social determinants of health. Two patients might visit a healthcare facility with similar physical symptoms in this case. However, the two might differ based on their socioeconomic status, level of education, access to health care, social network, and other non-clinical aspects. Due to such differences, the ailments progress in entirely different. Nurses experience such variances in their medical facilities. They face the challenge of ensuring equitable healthcare while patients are affected by diverse non-clinical factors. Therefore, the demand for their services increases because, besides addressing clinical factors, nurses address the non-clinical determinants of health during the treatment process. For example, a diabetic patient might lack proper transport, food security, insufficient medication, and low education levels (Sharma, Pinto, & Kumagai, 2018). Therefore, these factors hinder the effectiveness of treatment and long-term health outcomes.

Nurses should play a crucial role in addressing the disparities in social determinants of health through their advocacy role in health policy. The nurse can advocate for informing the policy agenda to solve the identified health issue. Hence, healthcare providers advocate for the improvement of access, quality, and value of care. Nurses can also play the role of a researcher to provide evidence-based analysis of a problem and propose effective measures to address a health issue. In most cases, policymakers fail to perform the necessary research to support their policies with sufficient evidence (Patton, Zalon, & Ludwick, 2018). Therefore, nurses can play the role of an educator to inform policymakers about the need for change and recommend solutions. The professionals are the key drivers of change to improve health care in the country.



Patton, R. M., Zalon, M. L., & Ludwick, R. (Eds.). (2018). Nurses making policy: From bedside to boardroom. New York: Springer Publishing Company.

Sharma, M., Pinto, A. D., & Kumagai, A. K. (2018). Teaching the social determinants of health: A path to equity or a road to nowhere?. Academic Medicine, 93(1), 25-30.

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