Epidemiology as a Medical Science

Epidemiology is the branch of medical science that deals with the distribution of diseases among people and recognition of the factors that could determine this kind of distribution (Stewart, 2016). In other words, epidemiology aims at gathering the material about a certain disease, analyzing all its characteristics, and presenting the outcomes that help to comprehend the possible development of the disease in regards to certain demographic or geographic issues.

Taking into consideration such definition and explanation, it is important to understand that epidemiology has to cooperate with a number of disciplines to make the correct conclusions and provide appropriate and helpful information. Wludyka (2011) admits that epidemiology has to intersect with statistics, probability, geography, demography, and even the biological sciences in order to introduce the required data. A number of statistical principles and methods could be used in epistemology (Varon & Fromm, 2014). Epidemiologists try to reduce the number of risks and negative health outcomes in society.

They have to gather enough information and investigate the examples. Therefore, research, education of communities, and recognition of health policies cannot be neglected. Epidemiology’s success is based on the ways of how such methods as ANOM, SPSS, and SAS are organized. For example, ANOM helps to analyze the stratified incidence and prevalence data (Wludyka, 2011). SAS is the method to investigate the peculiarities of survival data. All these steps and methods have to be considered by advanced practice nurses because this group of medical workers should know how to assess, prevent, and study patients about the threats of diseases and their development.

In epidemiology, the term “risk” is used to describe the probability of an event or an outcome (Wludyka, 2011). In risky behavior, there are two types of risks, relative (also known as the rate difference) and attributable (also known as the risk difference). Relative risks help to measure the strengths of the association in order to identify the main considerations that are important for deriving causal inferences.

In its turn, attributable risks help to measure the potential that is used for the prevention of disease in case the exposure cannot be eliminated. In clinical practice, public health, and nursing, attributable risks seems to be more important in comparison to relative risk because it deals not with etiology only (the case of relative risk) but also with policy and funding decisions with the help of which the development of new programs and the prevention of misunderstandings are possible. Attributable risk is a type of background risk that is inherent to every person regardless of their medical history, exposure, and resistance.


Stewart, A. (2016). Basic statistics and epidemiology: A practical guide. Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press.

Varon, J., & Fromm Jr., R.E. (2014). Acute and critical care formulas and laboratory values. New York, NY: Springer.

Wludyka, P. (2011). Role of epidemiology and statistics in advanced nursing practice. In K. Macha & J.P. McDonough (Eds.), Epidemiology for advanced nursing practice (pp.27-79). Sudbury, MA: Jones & Bartlett Publishers.