The Importance of Public Health Nursing

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Public health nursing is defined as the practice of protecting and promotion of people’s health through the utilization of knowledge from social, nursing, and public health sciences. A community health nurse conducts a rehabilitative, curative, and preventing practice, which sets forward the goal to deliver a proper level of healthcare to both individuals and groups. Normally, nurses’ work is associated with fulfilling a number of responsibilities that tend to determine the quality of clinic’s performance. Practitioners of this sphere are engaged in all of the three levels of disease prevention, during which they are forced to overcome many issues related to stress, workload, and other negative factors. All in all, the role nurses play in a clinical setting carries the meaning for the effective operation of the entire healthcare system.

Primary, Secondary, and Tertiary Levels of Prevention

Prevention activities presuppose taking all kinds of measures aimed at the reduction of threats to the individual’s health. Scholars and researchers differentiate three levels of prevention that are marked as primary, secondary, and tertiary accordingly. Primary prevention sets forward the objective “to prevent disease or injury before it ever occurs” (“Primary, secondary and tertiary prevention,” 2015, para. 2). The mentioned goal is achieved through prevention exposures to risks that may lead to the occurrence of disease or injury. Clinicians, for example, may refer to legislative norms at this level to control the spreading of hazardous substances, such as asbestos or hydrargyrum, or to promote healthy practices involving the use of bike helmets.

Secondary prevention exists to reduce the impact of an acquired injury or illness by taking the urgent measures. The key objective at this level is to prevent the long-term suffering (“Primary, secondary and tertiary prevention,” 2015). Examples may include diets, physical exercises, modified working schedules, and regular screening tests to detect a disorder at its earlier stages. Therapy centers’ attendance and relaxation techniques are known to provide a fast-recovery effect as well. Finally, the low-dose medication intake could also be the means to stop the disease aggravation.

Tertiary prevention has the goal to soften the impact of a long-lasting injury or disease by taking a complex approach to the process of treatment. The third level of prevention is mostly applied for treating permanent impairments and chronic disorders. As an example, one may bring vocational rehabilitation programs, support groups and depression management programs. The given programs are targeted at improving patients’ ability to function, as well as their motivation to recover. With these measures being properly applied the quality of people’s life undergoes serious improvement too.

Nurses’ Roles and Responsibilities in Community and Public Health Nursing

Public health nurses provide care across communities, working together to identify the impact of a disease on the entire society. These professionals are trained to operate in various settings, from schools to correctional facilities. As to the roles and responsibilities they play in a clinical environment, registered nurses fulfill numerous disease prevention, educational, leadership, data collection, and care delivery tasks (“Roles and responsibilities,” 2017). Community health specialists focus on both short- and long-term care to provide exhaustive information to individuals and groups and lead them to successful outcomes. They may also advocate on the local and federal level to guarantee easier access to healthcare and to assist in eliminating health disparities. Public health nurses remove cultural and language boundaries to make care delivery an easily reachable service for all communities. Moreover, settings they operate in allow them to use skills that are usually not used in clinics or hospitals.

Issues Community and Public Health Nurses Face

Day-to-day nursing practice is accompanied by multiple issues that may seriously affect the working process. Stress is one of the most commonly met factors leading to various health conditions and the overall decline in performance. Terry, Lê, Nguyen and Hoang (2015) point out that “social issues, poor management and safety concerns can be linked with psychological distress and emotional exhaustion” (p. 2). The occurrence of stress-related problems often forces medical workers to take extra leaves or even quit their jobs in the most severe cases.

Among the other issues affecting the community nurses’ practice, one may highlight such factors, as the intense workload, violence at work, and physical injuries. The need to work several shifts without a break usually provides an adverse impact on both performance and attention public nurses give to their patients. Also, the occurrence of violence in a clinical setting leads to the deterioration of care delivery system and significant reduction of one’s devotion to his/her functions (Terry et al., 2015). In fact, conflict situations might create additional problems that would result in serious injuries. A musculoskeletal disorder is a factor leading to turnover and job dissatisfaction.


Community health nurses play one of the most significant roles in a clinical environment due to them being leaders, educators, and care deliverers at the same time. Specialists of this sphere are capable of working in a variety of settings and are taught to provide both long- and short-term care to stimulate a faster recovery process at any of the three levels of disease prevention. However, despite their high-level competence and professionalism, workers of this branch of medicine are forced to overcome multiple issues that nurses’ daily practice is linked to. Stress, injuries, violence, and intense workload are among the factors that distract nurse practitioners from proper fulfilment of their duties.


Primary, secondary and tertiary prevention. (2015). Web.

Roles and responsibilities of a community health nurse. (2017). Web.

Terry, D., Lê, Q., Nguyen, U., & Hoang, H. (2015). Workplace health and safety issues among community nurses: A study regarding the impact on providing care to rural consumers. BMJ Open, 5(8), 1-10. Web.

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NursingBird. "The Importance of Public Health Nursing." December 28, 2021.