The health promotion theory, proposed by Nola J Pender, was designed to assist nurses in helping their patients identify health risk factors and beneficial practices that help the patients actively determine which behaviors will result in achieving optimum health. The models “framework serves as a guide for investigating the complex biopsychosocial process that motivate individuals to engage in health behaviors that are directed towards enhancement of health (Eftekhar et al., 2011, p. 142). It defines health as a positive dynamic state rather than simply the absence of disease. The theory is directed at increasing behaviors an individual can perform to bring greater longevity and a high quality of life while enhancing the patient's level of well-being.
Nola Pender is a nurse theorist that was born in 1941 in Lansing, Michigan. She received her Bachelor of Science degree in 1964 at Michigan State University, and received her doctor of philosophy in psychology and education in 1969. “In 1975, Pender published a model for preventive health behavior; her health promotion model first appeared in the first edition of the text Health Promotion in Nursing Practice in 1982” (Butts & Rich, 2010, p. 405). She currently serves as a renowned professor at Loyola University Chicago, School of Nursing. Pender has received many awards and honors, which include: Lifetime Achievement Award by Midwest Nursing Research Society in 2005, distinguished contributions to Nursing and Psychology by the American Psychological Association in 1997, and Distinguished Contributions to research by Midwest Nursing research in 1988.
The development of the health promotion theory stems from life events that Pender experienced. At the age of 7, Pender’s aunt was hospitalized, and it was the experience she encountered with the nursing staff that sparked her interest in nursing. Pender states, “the experience of watching the nurses caring for my aunt in her illness created in me a fascination with the work of nursing,” (Alligood & Tomey, 2010). The theory of health promotion was developed primarily to emphasis on an optimistic health seeking behavior approach, rather than the negative approach she had witnessed in other theories. Her concepts help identify influences in the patient’s perceptions and cognitions that the nurse needs to address in order for the patient to be able to adopt positive lifestyle behaviors. It is with the combination of life, professional, and educational experience that have helped to mold her middle-range theory.
Pender’s health promotion theory is one that has great influence on nursing practice, nursing education, and nursing research. The model has been referenced by many authors in relation to different settings and practice in health. Current research supports the empirical value of the Pender’s health promotion model. “While the health promotion model was developed to...