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The Concept of Social Justice in Nursing

The Impact of Social Justice on Health Care

Social justice in nursing relates to human rights and equality in the nursing practice. It aims to address inequalities arising from race, gender, age, religion, and other aspects of social injustice. Therefore, social justice in health care results in delivering high-quality care to every individual regardless of the individual’s social background. Quality healthcare should be a right according to each person despite the inequalities that persist. Hellman (2018) explains that racial minorities suffer more health care problems compared to the rest of the American population, and about 30% of their direct medical costs result from health inequalities. They are subjected to unconscious racial bias or poor access to quality health care. The goal of nursing is to help patients attain full health potential. However, disparities such as high insurance deductibles, lack of access to quality food, and medical costs also limit the success of social justice in health care.

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Fundamental Of Social Justice to Nursing Practice

Social justice is fundamental in healthcare to ensure that all individuals maintain the highest levels of wellness and health. Factors such as socioeconomic and environmental status, education, and employment can affect an individual’s access to quality healthcare. Healthcare professionals must be aware of the groups and individuals who have historically been marginalized and vulnerable to inequality in nursing care. Social facilities such as health care institutions are created to provide a positive social service and help people maintain good health. Social justice is critical in establishing these social institutions and the stakeholders in these institutions.

Social And Diversity as Part of The Family and Patient-Centered Care

Social justice and diversity are related terms in that social justice demands equality, and diversity relates to inclusion. Social justice requires equal access to healthcare regardless by recognizing and appreciating diversity in society. Social justice may not be a reality until diversity is embraced and recognized as an inherent part of the standards for justice.

Patient- and family-centered care encompasses planning, delivery, and assessment of healthcare based on a commonly beneficial partnership between healthcare workers, families, and patients. It emphasizes collaborating with different people and appreciating the diversity of age and culture at all levels of care and in a healthcare setting. It, therefore, redefines the relationships in nursing care (IPFCC, 2021). In this approach, families, and patients determine how they will participate in decision-making and care. The main goal is to promote patients’ and families’ well-being and health and maintain their control. This perspective relies on the idea that families and patients are essential partners for quality healthcare.

Patient- and family-centered care results in better health care results, improved family and patient experience, and more prudent allocation of resources; therefore, Healthcare professionals listen to and respect the choices and perspectives of family and patients. This incorporates the family’s and patients’ values, knowledge, beliefs, and cultural backgrounds into the planning and delivery of care. Essentially, it is about embracing the diversity of various families and respecting their principles, beliefs, and cultural relations. Besides, health care professionals connect and share comprehensive and unbiased information with families and patients in affirming and useful ways; patients and families also contribute to care and decision-making after receiving timely, comprehensive, and accurate information (IPFCC, 2021). The criteria in this perspective are to encourage patients and families to participate in care and decision-making at their preferred levels. Furthermore, healthcare practitioners are encouraged to collaborate with patients, families, and health care leaders to develop programs and policies, implementation and evaluation, from professional education, research, and healthcare delivery.

Barriers To Provision of Social Justice Care To A Diverse Population

Barriers to social justice relate to factors that prohibit developing and accessing quality healthcare for all, irrespective of background, age, and ethnicity. However, despite the steps towards achieving social justice, it is still a challenge, especially in a diverse population. Factors such as ethnicity, income, gender, and education all contribute to health disparities. Other aspects, such as environment and cultural backgrounds, also pose a challenge to social justice in health care.

Health disparities

Health disparities are preventable healthcare inequalities relating to an individual’s well-being based on income, education, gender, age, and ethnicity. These factors largely contribute to negative health circumstances, such as lack of access to quality healthcare resources or reduced expectancy rates. Health care professionals can lower health disparities by educating other healthcare providers, advancing health equity, allocating more resources, and increasing health literacy levels in the affected communities.

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Diversity and cultural backgrounds

Another barrier to social justice is cultural background and diversity. One of the main issues in healthcare practice is embracing diversity. This involves inclusive practice in healthcare administration and recognition. Negative elements such as racial discrimination and religious bias still persist within the healthcare sector. Healthcare administrators must identify and recognize that such negative influences are evident within the healthcare industry, and they must adopt relevant strategies to encourage inclusive practice.


Environmental factors such as water quality and air also determine the degree of social justice and overall health. These factors can lead to health inequities, especially when the environment is not conducive to maintaining proper health. Environmental health inequalities also exist when individuals are exposed to poor environmental qualities and social inequities and are less healthy than wealthy individuals living in friendly environmental conditions (Nicholas et., 2017). Health administrators should encourage fair treatment and meaningful involvement in environmental policies and laws regardless of culture, religion, or race to minimize these environmental health disparities.

Recommendations for Providing Health Promotion Activities

Social justice aims to recognize and respect human rights and equality in nursing practice. Some of the most vulnerable populations to social injustice in healthcare are the disabled and chronically ill patients, low-income individuals, racial minorities, and specific geographical communities. Encouraging inclusivity seeks to eliminate negative barriers such as health disparities, diversity, and cultural background and limit the effects of environmental factors. Low-income communities require support compared to the high-income population. They must, therefore, be supported towards achieving all-inclusive health care. The role of patient- and family-centered care can also hardly be ignored. In an inclusive care plan, health care professionals should engage the families and patients in the planning to implement the care plan.

Developing a culturally competent practice should be at the forefront of attaining social justice in health care. Nurses must be educated on different communication styles and cultural values to create comprehensive care plans and promote positive outcomes. Health practitioners must realize the essence of inclusivity toward achieving social justice. Low-income individuals are at risk of being left out of social justice as they lack vital access to high-quality health care. Health care administrators can advocate for better healthcare by identifying and empathizing with the minority groups who are victims of social injustice. Therefore, they can design models that promote social justice in their health care strategies. Also, stakeholders such as politicians, nurses, patients, and community members can influence strategic changes in these institutions to bring about the needed social justice. They can lobby for lower health care costs, establish custom care plans and report malpractice.


Hellman, A. N., Cass, C., Cathey, H., Smith, S. L., & Hurley, S. (2018). Understanding poverty: Teaching social justice in undergraduate nursing education. Journal of Forensic Nursing, 14(1), 11–17. Web.

IPFCC. (2021). What is PFCC? Web.

Nicholas, P. K., & Breakey, S. (2017). Climate change, climate justice, and environmental health: implications for the nursing profession. Journal of Nursing Scholarship: An Official Publication of Sigma Theta Tau International Honor Society of Nursing, 49(6), 606–616. Web.

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