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The Politics of Health Promotion: Influences on Public Health Promoting Nursing Practice in Ontario, Canada from Nightingale to the Nineties

Falk Rafael, Adeline R. RN, PhD

Nursing History

The marked and significant differences in the various meanings ascribed to health promotion in professional literature provide evidence of the concept's evolution over the last half of the 20th century and testify both to the powerful influences of dominant ideologies and the invisibility of others. The "new public health" marks a return to a conceptualization of health that is consistent with a nursing paradigm and thus potentially useful in supporting nursing health promotion practice. To take full advantage of this knowledge, however, it is critical that nurses reclaim their legacy in health promotion, critically appraise outside influences that threaten to undermine their work, and educate the public and other disciplines about nursing's unique focus on health promotion.

Assistant Professor; University of Western Ontario; London, Ontario, Canada

Earlier versions of this article were given as addresses to the Community Health Nurses Interest Group Annual General Meeting in April 1997 in Toronto, Canada and the Community Health Nurses of Canada Annual General Meeting in June 1998 in Ottawa, Canada. Portions of the addresses were subsequently published in the newsletters of those respective organizations and are reprinted with permission.

This study was funded in part by Sigma Theta Tau, Small Research Grant; Sigma Theta Tau, Alpha Kappa Chapter-at-Large; and Sigma Theta Tau, Iota Omicron Chapter.

Copyright © 1999 Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc. All rights reserved.