NRS 434 Benchmark – Human Experience Across the Health-Illness Continuum

NRS 434 Benchmark – Human Experience Across the Health-Illness Continuum

NRS 434 Benchmark – Human Experience Across the Health-Illness Continuum


The health-illness continuum is a diagrammatic illustration of a well-being concept that was proposed by John Travis in 1972. It explains the process of change whereby an individual undergoes different states of health and illness, which range from good health and fluctuate across the lifespan to death (Stará, 2017). Health is a process of recurrent change, and individuals must continuously adapt to the changes in their lives to uphold good health and well-being. It is the response and adaptation to health changes and not the change itself that affects one’s health (Dahlberg, 2019). A state of wellness can exist in the presence of chronic diseases when there is an adaptation and effective functioning. This essay will examine the health-illness continuum and discuss why it is essential to consider the continuum’s perspective when caring for patients. I will also reflect on my overall state of health and explore the resources available that can help me move towards wellness on the health-illness spectrum.

Importance of the Health-Illness Continuum When Caring For Patients

The health-illness continuum explains how well-being is more than just the absence of illness as it incorporates a person’s emotional and mental health (Hastings, 2019). The continuum consists of two directions, one that leads to a high level of wellness and another that leads to premature death (Stará, 2017). A high-level of wellness is attained in three steps, namely, awareness, education, and growth, while premature death occurs when there are signs, symptoms, and disability (Khorashadizadeh, 2016). The continuum also has a neutral point that is characterized by a state of no discernable wellness or illness. The continuum further explains that individuals in the direction of high-level wellness are genuinely optimistic and often have a positive outlook regardless of their health status (Khorashadizadeh, 2016). On the other hand, individuals heading towards premature death are genuinely pessimistic and have a negative outlook on their health status.

It is essential to consider the health-illness continuum perspective when caring for patients to help them move past the neutral point to the direction of high-level wellness. Health providers must understand that health is not merely the absence of disease; hence they should assess the state of psychological and mental well-being of patients (Hastings, 2019). Patients may be in the direction of premature death as a result of having psychological distress, which makes them have a negative perception of their health (Dahlberg, 2019). Consequently, health providers should promote the emotional and mental well-being of patients to improve the physical health and overall well-being.

Reflection on My Overall State of Health

I am 25-years old with a good general condition. My BMI is 23.5, and I have no history of chronic illnesses. Nonetheless, there is a positive family history of diabetes and hypertension in my close family members, which keeps me at risk of developing the same conditions if I do not practice a healthy lifestyle. I have an ineffective exercise program that involves walking for about 20 minutes a day, but I hardly engage in moderate-intensity exercises or attend gym sessions. I have a mobile application that counts my daily steps, but I have not been keen on achieving my daily steps target of 10000 steps. I try to take a balanced diet and take about six glasses of water daily, but I hardly eat fruits. Besides, I frequently take junk foods in the form of snacks, which may have contributed to the recent weight gain. Since I joined nursing school, I rarely seek consultation form healthcare providers, but I tend to diagnose and treat myself based on my symptoms. Poor lifestyle choices and self-prescription detract me from good health and well-being.

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After learning the effects of diabetes and hypertension on morbidity and quality of life, I have resulted in taking a balanced diet, increasing the intensity of physical activities, and having regular blood pressure and blood glucose monitoring. I have information on what I should do to prevent chronic diseases, and I have taken responsibility for my health to avoid premature death. On the health-illness continuum, I fall under the direction toward greater health and well-being on the step of education. I am aware of the health conditions that I am at risk of, and I am learning on how to prevent the diseases through modification of lifestyle. Besides, I am optimistic about my health status and have a positive perception of my health and overall well-being.

Options and Resources Available To Help Move toward Wellness

Resources that are available include a nutrition clinic in the University’s hospital where I can be counseled and

NRS 434 Benchmark - Human Experience Across the Health-Illness Continuum
NRS 434 Benchmark – Human Experience Across the Health-Illness Continuum

guided on the appropriate diet to prevent lifestyle diseases such as hypertension, diabetes, and cardiac diseases. There is also a Diabetic clinic where I can get regular blood glucose monitoring and health education on the prevention of diabetes. Besides, the University has a gymnasium with professional trainers who can help me in developing an exercise routine and help me in keeping fit to avoid being overweight, which increases the risk of chronic diseases. Other resources include books and online information on how to maintain a healthy lifestyle and prevent common chronic conditions.



In conclusion, a person’s state of health undergoes repeated change as one moves from good health to illness and back to health, and the condition is hardly constant. The illness-wellness continuum is a graphic illustration with two directions, one that directs to a high-level of wellness and another that leads to premature death. The continuum proposes that an individual’s well-being also entails emotional and mental health, and it is not just the absence of disease. The steps to achieving wellness include awareness, education, and growth, while the steps to premature death include signs, symptoms, and disability.




Dahlberg, H. (2019). Beyond the absent body—A phenomenological contribution to the understanding of body awareness in health and illness. Nursing Philosophy20(2), e12235.

Hastings, A. C. (2019). Health for the whole person: The complete guide to holistic medicine. Routledge.

Khorashadizadeh, F. (2016). Creation of illness meaning: A central concept of spiritual health. Evidence Based Care6(2), 75-76.

Stará, J. (2017). Health and wellness–conceptual grounding. Acta Salus Vitae5(2), 4-25.