Healthy Lifestyle Behaviors: Nursing Considerations for Social Determinants of Health

Clin J Oncol Nurs. 2021 Oct 1;25(5):42-48. doi: 10.1188/21.CJON.S1.42-48.


Background: Nurses develop meaningful and deep connections with patients, making them particularly skilled to consider how social determinants of health (SDOH) affect patients. SDOH include one's neighborhood and built environment, health and health care, social and community context, education, and economic stability. Consideration of SDOH, in addition to individual factors, allows nurses to better support patient engagement in health behaviors.

Objectives: This article aims to explore how nurses consider SDOH when talking about health behaviors with patients and to provide case exemplars of how incorporation of the SDOH can be increased in holistic, patient-centered nursing care.

Methods: A secondary data analysis was conducted to identify how practicing oncology nurses (N = 75) take SDOH into account when talking about physical activity with patients.

Findings: Of the 124 considerations that nurses made when talking about physical activity with patients, most did not relate to SDOH.

Keywords: barriers; oncology nursing; physical activity; social determinants of health.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Delivery of Health Care*
  • Health Behavior
  • Healthy Lifestyle
  • Humans
  • Social Determinants of Health*