NURS246-1 Care for Special Populations

NURS246-1 Care for Special Populations

The Association of Women\’s Health, Obstetric and Neonatal Nurses (AWHONN) is committed to making a difference in the health and lives of women and newborns through research, education, and advocacy. One of their priorities is to improve clinical practices based on evidence-based research and is looking at psychosocial issues and social determinants of health and how they affect maternal and newborn outcomes. Choose an issue discussed in the first three chapters of the text and describe how it can affect the overall well being of the mother or newborn. Then come up with a strategy or an intervention the nurse can do to improve the health outcome. This essay should be a minimum of 500 words and follow APA guidelines. Two scholarly references must be used. Your text may be used as a reference. See attached rubric for grading. Examples of psychosocial issues: anxiety, depression, social support, substance abuse, violence. Examples of social determinants of health: financial stability, environment, education, nutrition, social support networks.NURS246-1 Care for Special Populations

Belief and Religion: Its effects on Maternal and Newborn Health Outcomes

Social determinants of health offer an understanding of the social forces that influence population health outcomes. That is because they offer a social gradient of health inequality that extends across all population strata. As conditions that shape how a population lives and dies, belief and religion are identified as one of the determinants of health. The two (belief and religion) have a robust association with health outcomes to a great extent. Even though the level of participation in the two activities vary between the different members of a population, they are present to same extent among all populations. They have an impact on health outcomes by providing social support and ties, influencing health promoting behaviors and risks, and affecting access to social capital within groups (Idler et al., 2017). The present paper explores the effects of belief and religion as, social determinants, on maternal and newborn health outcomes, as well as strategies for improving outcomes.


Issue and effects

Belief and religion are of concern in maternal and newborn health outcomes owing to their influence on uptake of antenatal and postnatal services. Murray et al. (2019) explores this issue and notes that religious beliefs in health care delivery play a role in patients’ access to medical services and care outcomes. This is particularly so for women who exhibit their religious beliefs and use religious artefacts. Some of the themes that present through religious beliefs and practices include emotional support, fellowship, worship, signing and prayer. It is not uncommon for women requiring medical care to seek spiritual intervention from religious leaders to include prayers. It is not uncommon for women to intensify their prayers to god when facing health concerns. Some of them panic at the thought of visiting a medical facility and could be stigmatized from undergoing necessary medical procedures such as caesarian section. This causes women with strong religious beliefs to commune with their God to increase their hope and faith in God while improving their confidence of positive care outcomes. In addition, some of the women have belief in fate determining outcomes so that they do not take personal responsibility for adverse events thereby making them ambivalent in seeking medical care (Murray et al., 2019).NURS246-1 Care for Special Populations

Al-Mujtaba et al. (2016) explores the link between religious beliefs and health care through a research study conducted in Nigeria to compare the effects of Christian and Muslim beliefs/religions. The article explains that although maternal health services utilization has been linked to unequal gender relations from cultural influences and socioeconomic dependency, unequal gender relations from religious beliefs have significant influences. In addition, belief and religion have an influence on faith-based and spirituality practice, and these play an integral role on how the population copes with psychological difficulties in health seeking behavior and sickness. The authors specifically note that in Nigeria between 76.8% and 89.0% of Christian women attend the WHO recommended antenatal visits while between 35.5% and 51.9% of Christian women attend the WHO recommended antenatal visits. The significant difference in attendance of the required medical services has been blamed on the need for Muslim women to obtain permission from their religious or cultural leaders, guardians, parents and significant others to attend such services, as well as their unwillingness to receive medical services from male medical personnel. This is a clear indication that there is an association between uptake of maternal health services and religious beliefs as the women rely on their faith-based practices and spirituality in coping with illness and health seeking behavior (Al-Mujtaba et al., 2017).  It is clear that belief and religion cannot be decoupled from maternal and newborn health outcomes, and that matching religious beliefs to care approaches would improve outcomes.


Religion and beliefs are of concern in any efforts to improve maternal and newborn health outcomes. That is because they have an influence on willingness to seek medical services, apply treatment, and follow health recommendations as presented through patient education. Still, there are three strategies that can be applied to reduce the negative effects on maternal and newborn health outcomes. The first strategy is to improve staffing and training at medical facilities. Training on sensitivity to religion and belief helps medical personnel to personalize the health care services to the needs of the patients so that they have greater willingness to seek medical care, and are more receptive to medical services. The second strategy is providing female and ethnic medical personnel to attend to the patients. This helps in ensuring that the provided medical services are structured in a manner that matches the patients’ religious beliefs. The third strategy is collaborating with religious leaders to ensure that protocols and structures are compliant with religious beliefs so that women are not constrained from seeking medical services. Also, the religious leaders can be utilized in community education that separates deeply rooted traditions from religion thereby helping to convince women to seek medical services as required (Murray et al., 2019). NURS246-1 Care for Special Populations


Al-Mujtaba, M., Cornelius, L., Galadanci, H., Erekaha, S., Okundaye, J., Adeyemi, O., & Sam-Agudu, N. (2016). Evaluating Religious Influences on the Utilization of Maternal Health Services among Muslim and Christian Women in North-Central Nigeria. BioMed Research International, Volume 2016, Article ID 3645415.

Idler, E., Blevins, J., Kiser, M., & Hague, C. (2017). Religion, a social determinant of mortality? A 10-year follow-up of the Health and Retirement Study. PLoS One, 12(12), e0189134.

Murray, S., McKinney, E., Holub, K., & Jones, R. (2019). Foundations of Maternal-Newborn and Women’s Health Nursing (7th ed.). Elsevier.


NURS246-1 Care for Special Populations