Cao, R., Teresa E. Stone, Marcia A. Petrini, & S. Turale (2018). Nurses’ perceptions of health beliefs and impact on teaching and practice: A Q-sort study. International Nursing Review 65, 131-144.

Abstract: Aim: To understand Chinese nurses’ perceptions of health beliefs, their content, origin and the influence of sociocultural factors, as a basis of their evidence-based practice. This study contributes to a larger study to establish the health beliefs of Japanese, Australian, Chinese, South Korean and Thai nurses. Background: Registered nurses teach patients and students about maintaining or attaining health are subject to the same range of influences and their health beliefs may be antithetical to current health evidence. Methods: Q-method design using Q-sort and interview was used to explore the perspectives on a range of health beliefs of 60 nurses in four cities in China. Findings: Three factors arose from the perceptions of the participants about health and accounted for 50.2% of the total variance: (1) social impact, (2) ‘the importance of evidence’, and (3) beliefs rooted in culture. Discussion: Influence on nurses’ health beliefs was explored in terms of the internalized and frequently unconscious beliefs, values and norms tying them to their communities, reflecting the need for nurses to be aware of their health beliefs and behaviours. Conclusions: Education for nurses in practice needs to acknowledge that individual practitioners’ beliefs strongly influence health teaching for patients and families. In order to implement evidenced-based practice and teach in line with current evidence nurses need to critically examine and reflect on the impact of culture, society and the media on their own health beliefs. Implications for nursing policy and health policy: Education policy needs to consider that culture and societal pressures affect nurses’ health beliefs and practice. Critical thinking, reflective and evidence-based practice need to be emphasized in clinical training and nurse education. China also needs to develop policies to allow nurses to be able to assess the reliability of health information on the Internet and to make quality health research more available.

Teresa E. Stone <> is on the Faculty of Health Sciences, Graduate School of Medicine, Yamaguchi University, Ube, Japan, and visiting professor, Chiang Mai University Faculty of Nursing, Muang Chiang Mai, Thailand.

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