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pre·ven·tive nur·sing(prĕ-ven'tiv nŭrs'ing)
Primary. Nursing care aimed at general health promotion. This includes intervention necessary to provide a health-promoting environment at home, in the schools, in public places, and in the workplace by ensuring good nutrition, adequate clothing and shelter, rest and recreation, and health education (including sex education and, for the aging group, plans for retirement). Areas of emphasis are specific protective measures such as immunizations, environmental sanitation, accident prevention, and protection from occupational hazards. Changes in lifestyle through behavior therapy, although difficult, must be attempted in those areas known to represent major health risk factors (i.e., smoking, obesity, sedentary lifestyle, improper diet, alcohol and drug abuse, sexual promiscuity and unsafe sex, and falls). Major efforts must be made to prevent automobile accidents.
Secondary. Nursing care aimed at early recognition and treatment of disease. It includes general nursing interventions and teaching of early signs of disease. Infectious diseases, glaucoma, obesity, and cancer fall into this category.
Tertiary. Nursing care for patients with incurable diseases, e.g., Parkinson's disease, multiple sclerosis, or cancer, and patient instruction on how to manage them. The goal is to prevent further deterioration of physical and mental function and to have the patient use residual function for maximum enjoyment of and participation in life. Rehabilitation is an essential part of tertiary prevention.