The field of public health nursing consists of policy reform, systemic change, and health promotion. This nursing practice includes advocacy, policy development, and planning. It is a balance in which health professionals work to promote health and prevent disease, focusing on identifying the sources of illness and then identifying how policy, education, and health systems may work together to improve health outcomes. Public health nurses work in health departments, correctional facilities, workplaces, and other required community-specific nursing care. For example, they monitor disease outbreaks and prevention trends, open flu clinics, and work to reduce heart disease by providing education to their city.
Community nurses maximize the health of individuals, families, groups, and communities by reaching out to them directly. The community nurse combines direct care and public health practice with a target group of patients who may not have access to health care or may pay for it. The Community Nurse is responsible for training and developing intervention plans for individuals, families, disease and prevention, safe health practices, nutrition and well-being, and other topics.
Nurses work in the community. This could be a government agency such as a school district or community health center. The types of communities these nurses serve will vary. The economic situation, school, and culture – all of them determine the needs of society. Many work in community health centers. Like those working in primary health care units, these nurses provide preventive care, immunizations, treatment emergencies, provide training, and resupply drugs, to name but a few. Nurses can also work in public health departments or wards.
Current issues faced by the community and public health nurses can be poor community health. Whether they work in rural areas or poor urban areas, nurses often help those with serious health problems. In rural areas, remoteness and other factors of geography and culture mean that people are less able to provide quality health care and health outcomes than people living in more densely populated areas.
The other issue is limited resources. In both rural and poor urban communities, health resources are often limited. The community itself may be underfunded, and nonprofits and health departments usually do not have large budgets. This can present you with several challenges as a public health nurse. It is not easy to change the health of a community that has traditionally suffered from poor health. There is still a lot of work to be done to remove barriers to health, improve environmental conditions and help the community learn to live healthier lives. It may take years before there is a tangible improvement in public health. And even then, there is likely to be a long climb ahead.
I live in Los Angeles, and my zip code is 90001. One of the main problems of this community, according to CHNA, is obesity (CHNA Report for KFH-Los Angeles, 2019). Obesity “has contributed to substantial cardiovascular and other health risks” (Lavie et al., 2018, p. 1506). There are three levels of prevention: i) improving the general health of the population; ii) improving; iii) improving treatment and recovery.
Primary prevention aims to reduce the number of new cases, secondary prevention is to reduce the number of identified cases in the community, and tertiary prevention is to stabilize or reduce the disability associated with the disease. The primary role of community nurses is to provide treatment to patients. In addition, community nurses provide health education to community members to reduce illness and death. They plan educational meetings, hand out flyers, conduct medical examinations, distribute medicines, and administer immunizations. Nurses can also distribute health-related items such as condoms and pregnancy tests.
Community Health Needs Assessment: CHNA Report for KFH-Los Angeles. (2019). Kaiser Permanente.
Lavie, C. J., Laddu, D., Arena, R., Ortega, F. B., Alpert, M. A & Kushner, R. F. (2018). Healthy weight and obesity prevention. Journal of the American College of Cardiology, 72(13), 1506-1531.