Vulnerability and Its Relation With Community Health Nursing
Vulnerability is a complex concept and it is defined differently in different settings. When it comes to nursing, researchers note that there is hardly a single definition. For instance, Tomm-Bonde (2012) states that there are two major types of definitions that focus on power or risk. Thus, imbalance of power or predisposition of certain groups to some risks is put to the fore. In view of these two paradigms, it is possible to define vulnerability in the healthcare setting as a “collective dimension” of health and human “potential” to be exposed to physical injuries, psychological threat, and distress (Tomm-Bonde, 2012, p. 3). In other words, vulnerability is the potential of being prone to physical, psychological, mental, or moral damage.
The concept of Vulnerability is quite critical for community health nursing, as nursing professionals who are community-focused have to pay attention to the needs of different groups of people (Kulbok, Thatcher, Park & Meszaros, 2012). Nurses should understand that there can be several dimensions of vulnerability (physical, moral, emotional, psychological, social and so on) and they should pay attention to each of these dimensions.
Two Vulnerable Populations
It is possible to point out such vulnerable groups as homeless people and illegal immigrants. These populations’ vulnerability is manifested at different levels. Thus, both groups do not have access to high-quality healthcare services as they do not have insurance and they are illegible to get aid from the government. Importantly, these people also pay less attention to their health as they have a variety of things to focus on (money, food, dwelling, and so on). Homeless people and immigrants usually get into hospitals when they are seriously ill and when there is a risk of the start of an epidemic. Clearly, these populations are also distressed. When it comes to illegal immigrants, their psychological burden is also associated with linguistic issues and parting with their close ones. These people often do not know anyone or anything in the new place and this is why they are under significant pressure. As for linguistic issues, they are often manifested at healthcare units, as healthcare professionals are unable to understand these patients’ complaints. Cultural differences also contribute to the psychological distress of illegal immigrants as healthcare professionals often do not know or do not care about following certain rules when it comes to health practices.
Rural Health and Its Relation to Community Health Nursing
Rural nursing can be defined as the provision of professional nursing care “within the physical and socio-cultural context of sparsely populated communities” (Nies & McEwen, 2014, p. 461). One of the most serious difficulties associated with rural nursing is the lack of nursing professionals in these areas. It is also important to add that the lack of resources is another serious issue. It is especially true for education and training resources for nursing professionals. Nurses working in rural areas have a significant workload and they have to work with diverse populations. This diversity is manifested in terms of age, ethnicity, cultural and educational background, gender, socio-economic status, and so on.
Clearly, being community-focused, community health nursing professionals have to consider all these areas. They should be able to provide high-quality services that address a particular health condition of the patient as well as his/her psychological or moral needs. Of course, nurses should also understand how to deal with vulnerable populations that live in their area. Nurses should be able to do that using the limited resources they have, which puts an additional load on these healthcare professionals.
Kulbok, P.A., Thatcher, E., Park, E., & Meszaros, P.S. (2012). Evolving public health nursing roles: Focus on community participatory health promotion and prevention. The Online Journal of Issues in Nursing, 17(2). Web.
Nies, M.A., & McEwen, M. (2014). Community/public health nursing: Promoting the health of populations. St. Louis, MO: Elsevier Health Sciences.
Tomm-Bonde, L. (2012). The Naïve nurse: Revisiting vulnerability for nursing. BMC Nursing, 11(5), 1-7.