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NRS 434 Benchmark- Human Experience Across the Health-Illness Continuum

NRS 434 Benchmark- Human Experience Across the Health-Illness Continuum

The World Health Organization describes health as a state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease. Health is determined by factors such as environment, education, genetics, and interpersonal relationships (GCU, 2018). This paper seeks to discuss the health-illness continuum and its relevance to patient care and describe a perspective of my current state of health with respect to the wellness spectrum.

Health-Illness Importance to Health and Patient Care

The Health-Illness Continuum, proposed by Ryan and Travis, illustrates health and illness along a continuum. The continuum is a diagrammatic representation with high-level health and wellness at the extreme right and high levels of illness and poor health and premature death at the extreme left (Ali et al., 2018). The middle of the continuum is regarded as the neutral zone since there is neither health nor illness. High levels of wellness are achieved through three steps, which are awareness, education, and growth (Ali et al., 2018). Signs, symptoms, and disability manifest in the left direction that leads to premature death.

Nurses must consider the health-illness continuum when caring for patients to enable them to move along the continuum towards high health levels. For instance, when they understand that health is achieved when a patient is effectively managed, the nurse will strive to provide quality, comprehensive care (GCU, 2018).  Besides, when nurses understand that poor health is caused by trauma and infections, they take interventions to promote patient safety (Svalastog et al., 2017). According to the continuum, persons moving towards high-level wellness are usually optimistic and have a positive view regardless of their existing health condition (Ali et al., 2018). On the other hand, persons in the left direction towards premature death are generally pessimistic and have negative perceptions of their health condition.

Relation of Human-Illness Continuum to Value, Dignity, and Promotion of Human Flourishing

The health-illness continuum enables me as a nurse to promote the value and dignity of people and groups and to serve individuals in a manner that promotes human flourishing. The continuum has made me understand that an individual passes through various states of health and illness. These states range from good health and usually fluctuate to disability and death across the human lifespan (Svalastog et al., 2017). I have learned that health is a recurring change process, and individuals must constantly adapt to these changes to maintain good health and general well-being.

As a health provider, I will apply knowledge from the health-illness continuum to help individuals positively respond and adapt to changes in their health and well-being. For instance, I can help a patient diagnosed with a chronic disease function effectively by training them on the appropriate adaptation strategies and enabling them to flourish (Taylor, Lynn & Bartlett, 2018). High wellness levels can only be achieved when a patient’s mental and emotional aspects are incorporated into the treatment plan. Consequently, all health aspects must be included through holistic care to promote their general well-being (Taylor et al., 2018). I can uphold individuals’ values and dignity by supporting them psychologically, emotionally, and socially. Furthermore, the health education and promotion I provide to individuals, and the community should aim at empowering them to make informed health decisions and support them to flourish.

Reflection on Personal State of Health and the Health Illness Continuum

I would describe my state of health as unremarkable and moving towards the right side of the health-illness continuum. I have no physical or psychological symptoms and no history of a chronic illness. My BMI is currently at 22.8, which is within the normal weight range. There is a family history of chronic illnesses such as diabetes, hypertension, and colorectal cancer, which puts me at risk of developing similar conditions. Personal behaviors that support good health and well-being include taking three balanced meals a day with a variety of fruits and taking lots of water, more than the recommended eight glasses a day.

I attend annual health checkups and take advantage of free community screenings to have my blood pressure and blood sugar

NRS 434 Benchmark- Human Experience Across the Health-Illness Continuum

NRS 434 Benchmark- Human Experience Across the Health-Illness Continuum

screened. I also ensure I have adequate rest with at least 6 hours of sleep a day and attend Yoga classes for my mental health. These personal behaviors make me move towards a high level of health and wellness on the right side of the continuum. Nevertheless, some behaviors detract me from achieving a high level of health, including lack of adequate physical exercises. My physical exercises entail mostly walking and swimming on weekends. I feel that these are not adequate exercises, and I need to increase the intensity and duration. Besides, I take alcohol about 3-4 beers about four days a week, which could put me at risk of hyperlipidemia, diabetes, and cardiovascular diseases. Lack of adequate exercise and alcohol consumption detracts me from reaching high levels of health.

Resources Supporting Wellness

Resources that would significantly help me move toward wellness on the health-illness continuum include GCU’s Health and Wellness clinic. The GCU clinic provides top-notch healthcare services to its students and staff, including wellness promotion, TB skin tests, weight management, health education, and smoking cessation. Clients benefit from various wellness clinic services, including physical exams, treatment of illnesses, and holistic and individualized care. Therefore, I can benefit from the GCU wellness clinic services by having routine physical exams and screening services. I can also seek counseling on cessation of alcohol, maintaining a healthy weight, and preventing chronic illnesses. Lastly, I can use the GCU library to access health articles on the prevention of diseases and achieving higher levels of health.


The health-illness continuum is a diagrammatic representation representing a high level of health and wellness on the right and poor health and premature death on the left. The continuum is important in patient care since health providers can understand that people move along the continuum from poor health toward health when they are successfully treated. On the other hand, they move along the continuum from good to poor health due to factors such as infection or trauma. The continuum can be used to promote human value, dignity, and flourishing by promoting the mental and social well-being of individuals and providing health education that empowers them to make informed health decisions.




Ali, T., Hussain, M., Afzal, M., Khan, W. A., Hur, T., Amin, M. B., Kim, D., Kang, B. H., & Lee, S. (2018). Clinically harmonized wellness concepts model for health and wellness services. IEEE Access6, 26660-26674. https://doi.org/10.1109/ACCESS.2018.2834391

Grand Canyon University (Ed). (2018). Health assessment: Foundations for effective practice. Retrieved from https://lc.gcumedia.com/nrs434vn/health-assessment-foundations-for-effective-practice/v1.1/

Svalastog, A. L., Donev, D., Jahren Kristoffersen, N., & Gajović, S. (2017). Concepts and definitions of health and health-related values in the knowledge landscapes of the digital society. Croatian medical journal58(6), 431–435. https://doi.org/10.3325/cmj.2017.58.431

Taylor, C., Lynn, P., & Bartlett, J. (2018). Fundamentals of Nursing: The Art and Science of Person-Centered Care. Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.

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Health assessments have been common practice for many years. Though there have been great leaps in medicine over the years, looking at the patient and understanding normal trends is very important for healthcare providers to utilize. In this discussion post there is a 9- month-old girl with a few assessment findings. Using these assessment findings makes it easier for healthcare providers to determine if children are growing at the proper rate, while also changing goals of care if percentiles are not met.

The girl’s head circumference is 43 cm (25th percentile), weighs 6.75 kg (5th percentile), and length of 68.5 cm (25th percentile). Though these findings are low for this age group, it is important to also observe other findings. These are all measured objective findings, but nurses typically pick up on the much less subtle subjective findings when assessing the patient. According to the CDC (2017b), “Babbling, laughing, and blowing bubbles characterize the vocalizations of a 6- to 9-month-old. By 9 to 12 months, the infant responds to simple verbal commands from others, such as no, and imitates sounds, such as mama or dada, but does not initially associate the sound with a mom or dad.” Questions assessing these actions and gestures are something important for the nurse to focus on when determining if a child is meeting general development milestones. Though simple, this same article states, “pounding on surfaces, or pointing, indicating nonverbal needs and protests. The infant begins to recognize body parts, begin to wave bye-bye, and recognize familiar persons or objects with names and sounds, such as a moo-cow” (CDC, 2017b).


These findings are just as important to determine proper development patterns. Green states,

“If an infant shows developmental delays on screening, the nurse should pursue this with the infant’s primary practitioner or other referral sources such as early intervention services. Early intervention services are coordinated services aimed toward early identification, evaluation, and intervention for infants and young children who have developmental delays or medical conditions that could result in disabilities or delays. These services are provided under the federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) (2018).


Encouraging parents to acknowledge delays early on in his or her child’s development is important when trying to treat and help the infant. The clinical measurements for this 9-month-old is important when determining true physical growth, but the subtle observations with play, interactions, as well as actions are also just as important. Educating parents on the importance of keeping a dietary log, play log, and write down dates and ages of developmental milestones will allow providers to get a better picture of if/when and abnormal changes occur. Recommendations for this child would be encourage increase nutrition from breast-milk, if possible, but fortified formula is also encouraged if unable to breastfeed. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, “When the infant is 6-12 months old, the AAP recommends gradually introducing solid foods while continuing to breastfeed” (2012). This will help with physical growth, but encouraging activity, stimuli, and interactions will promote neurodevelopment.


American Academy of Pediatrics. (2012). Breastfeeding and the use of human milk. Pediatrics, 129(3),

e827-e841. doi:10.1542/peds.2011-3552

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2017b). Developmental milestones. Retrieved from


Green,S.Z.(2018).Grand Canyon University:Health Assessment


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