What are social determinants of health?

*What are social determinants of health? **Explain how social determinants of health contribute to the development of disease. ***Describe the fundamental idea that the communicable disease chain model is designed to represent. ****Give an example of the steps a nurse can take to break the link within the communicable disease chain model.
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– Thesis must contain the essence of the paper.
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Social Determinants of Health

What are social determinants of health?

The social determinants of health reflect social and economic conditions that impact on the health, quality of life outcomes and functioning of communities and people (CDC, 2019). These conditions are influenced and shaped by socioeconomic standing that individuals have (resources, power and money), all of which are affected by political and socioeconomic factors (for example culture, social values and policies). The place where people live, work, and play affect sense of security and social engagement.

How social determinants of health contribute to the development of disease

Social determinants play an important role in health outcomes. Factors like income level, patient’s education, environment, housing and social support have significant impact on health. They cause health inequalities especially among the vulnerable groups.  Social determinants are the major cause of today’s chronic health conditions, such as diabetes, obesity, depression and heart disease (HealthyPeople.gov 2020). Lack of education may affect employment opportunities available which in turn limit income. With low income, access to nutritious food and healthcare is reduced leading to increased hardship. Hardships trigger stress which in turn encourages unhealthy coping mechanisms like overconsumption of unhealthy foods. By contrast, safe housing, access to education and employment, high income level, public safety, availability of foods and safe neighborhood/environment promotes good health (NEJM Catalyst, 2017).

Describe the fundamental idea that the communicable disease chain model is designed to represent    

This model is designed to represent the fundamental idea that people can break down the chain of infection at any particular point and thus stop the spread. The model contains three elements as necessary requirement for the spread of communicable diseases in populations: host, environment and infectious agent. 

Give an example of the steps a nurse can take to break the link within the communicable disease chain model.

One needs to comprehend the chain and devise ways to break it. There are six links at which to break the chain of infection and stop the infection from spreading including the infectious agent, reservoir, portal of exit, means of transmission, portal of entry and host (Patterson, 2015). Disrupting the chain of infection at any point stops the germ from spreading. The nurse can take various precautions to protect oneself and patients from pathogen exposure by understanding organizational infection control policies. These include transmission-based precautions (airborne, droplet and contact) and standard precaution (personal protective equipment, environmental cleaning, hand hygiene, cough etiquette and injection safety) (Shaw, 2016). Proper use of masks by the nurse and patients can break the link at the point of entry. The nurse may isolate the patient with transmissible pathogen from others to also break the link at the reservoir point. The nurse and patient can wear mask and practice cough etiquette to prevent the droplet exiting an infected host from landing on another. The nurse can champion for adoption of hand hygiene practices. Practicing hand hygiene and disinfecting frequently touched surfaces can break the link at the mode of transmission point. It is also advisable for the nurse to use ascptic techniques when performing wound dressing (Shaw, 2016). The nurse should also safely handle sharps and fluids and discard them. Last but not least, it is best for the nurse to improve knowledge about pathogens and how they are transmitted. This include gaining understanding the role of pathogens as reservoirs and hosts as well as part of our food, water, flora and environment.    


Center for Disease Control and Prevention. (2019). NCHHSTP Social Determinants of Health. Retrieved on December 14, 2020 https://www.cdc.gov/nchhstp/socialdeterminants/faq.html

HealthyPeople.gov (2020). Social Determinants of Health. Retrieved on December 14, 2020 https://www.healthypeople.gov/2020/topics-objectives/topic/social-determinants-of-health

NEJM Catalyst. (2017). Social Determinants of Health (SDOH). Retrieved on December 14, 2020 https://catalyst.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/CAT.17.0312

Patterson, C. E. (2015). Basic principles of infection control. Nursing made Incredibly Easy, 13(3), 28-37   

Shaw, K. (2016). Prevention by breaking the chain of infection. Nursing Times, 112(39/49), 12-14

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