Health Education and Community Nursing

The Community Nurse

In the community, different health issues require special attention and in most cases, a constant supply of health services and special care. This is usually common for children, the elderly, the disable and the vulnerable in different situations. Community nursing is a field of nursing and healthcare that deals with the well-being and provision of health services to such groups of people in the community (Bond & Senga, 1986). Community nurses are sent to the community and spend their time there providing their services to those who need them at any given time. Also, they work hand-in-hand with the local administration and healthcare providers to ensure they perform their duties beneficially and acceptably (Clark, 2009).

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Community nurses also undertake a major role in the society through provision of health education services in which the nurse teaches the community on different aspects of living healthy and overcoming their potential health hazards and other health issues they are prone to. This way, the nurse helps the community to overcome some of its health challenges since in the real sense; most of the health issues undergone by the community are either preventable or manageable through healthy living (Clark, 2009).

The Educational Model

The face of health around the globe has been changing and reforming rapidly and so to be effective in the sector, you need to keep refreshing your knowledge on the new strategies and thus the need for constant learning process for nurse and healthcare providers’ trainers, community nurses and other medical practitioners. Also, Community nursing is one of the fields greatly influenced by political, social and agency verdict and also environmental changes thus very flexible to any of the modifications endorsed. The training process involves assessment and evaluation of the requirements of the learners which keeps changing from one individual to another and from time to time. One of the main ways through which the higher education institutions operate is through partnerships to ensure quality and accessible education from whenever one is and they also serve as foundation programs for service re-learning (McArthur-Rouse, 2007).

As the community nurses move from the clinical or institutional settings to independent operations and working directly with the community, they encounter challenges in their initial development and implementation of their initial projects within the community. This is why they need to associate with the other people in the same field so that they can apply the participation research methodology and together come up with results or find out the problem, react and evaluate their work. This is one of the ways through which the community nurses involve the community members in researches and together they can come with findings based on experience (Robotham, 2005).

The need for even more community nurses is increasing due to the increase in the number of the chronically ill persons who need medical care outside hospitals and thus need to educate more community nurses. These community nurses not only provide but also manage healthcare within a community and so they also need to be educated on community management and other similar topics that they come across in their field of work. Community nurses also find themselves working together with pharmacists, social workers, first aiders, occupational therapists, dentists, physicians, nutritionists and physical therapists. These interactions require them to also be educated on networking and the various ways of providing quality healthcare and even how to be good in conducting researches (Stevens & Havens, 1990).

Community nurses and trainees also need to be trained on the collection of pertinent information when the need to call a physician about a client’s condition arises. This makes it hard for the physician to offer the required assistance and would pose a very high risk in case of an emergency. It is therefore very necessary for these trainees and practicing nurses to attend refresher courses to familiarize with all the required diagnostics (Cowley, 2001). The other additional courses they undergo are such as problem based learning and conflict resolution and management which entail empathy, social adaptation, listening skills, anger management and requirements-based approach, a sector that other medical students and practitioners take for granted. One of the main challenges being experienced in the field of community nursing is the fact that most of the practicing nurses have the lowest level of academic level, with only around 40% of the nurses holding a bachelor’s degree. This lowers the level of practice leaving the few under all the pressure and so there is need for these nurses to put any effort in getting complimentary courses or a degree (Stevens & Havens, 1990).

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Advocacy for social justice

Advocacy is the act of pleading for the sake of someone or a course and a nurse or medical practitioner is expected to play this role with community development in mind. The issues of health equity and social justice evolved from previous first hand experiences and witnessing the deadly undocumented hardships that various populations at times undergo. Some of the social injustices evident in our society over time have mainly been escalating rates of chronic diseases and impact of social gradient on quality of life, thus they have taken up the role of countering these evident social prejudice and health inequalities (HOLBEN, 2009).

Preserving cultural safety

Any community nurse should be aware of and be able to self-reflect upon his or her own opinion of culture. This awareness of cultural differences enables one to develop public health policies and behaviors that are not discriminative. Each one should therefore work towards achieving linguistic and cultural propensity. There is need for the provision of relevant information regarding community, language, ethnicity and culture and the right thing to do (Robotham, 2005).

Promoting equity

A community nurse is expected to respect every individual irrespective of their health status, gender, race, disability, religion, sexual preference, ethnicity and mental status. If he or she notices any of disparity happening either in their institution or with any other medical practitioner, they have the mandate of involving the law (Thompson, 2001).

Providing access to health resources for all

A health care provider is expected to cross cultural, gender and religion borders to be able to serve each client well and thus eliminate any variations and disparities. According to Association of State and Territorial Directors of Nursing (ASTDN, 2006), a nurse is therefore expected to treat each person with priority and fairness, making sure they achieve optimal health and wellbeing, despite the enormities they encounter in this profession. A community nurse is therefore expected to come up with a policy that provides for and endorse environments that augment health and safety for all (Rutter, 2004).

Potential ethical or legal issue that may impact on the nurse’s professional practice

When it comes to the question of legal and ethical issues, a lot of inconsistencies between states and even within the jurisdiction have been observed over time, and therefore this poses a challenge as to determine what the right thing is. The main ethical issues that have been of concern over the longest period of time are negligence, maltreatment and setting professional boundaries (Sonkin & Scott, 2000).

Negligence

This is one main area that is so hard to determine, because at times the nurses tend to do what they think is right but find themselves on the wrong side of the law. A nurse may face negligence case in the event where a patient has reported to hospital and takes an unusually long time on the waiting or in the instance of delayed treatment. Sometimes it gets hard to determine which case is more urgent than the other and thus at times they find themselves making wrong judgments. Due to this fact, nurses need to be facilitated on determining the cases according to the matter of urgency thus avoiding breaking the law unknowingly, and treating each right (Rutter, 2004).

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Maltreatment

This is a problem noticeable mainly in the field of mental health providers who deal with the treatment of children, youths, couples and adults in general and the main issue is the fact that majority of the cases go unreported or are reported at a later stage. At times the medical practitioners are unable to conclude whether a case is maltreatment or should be placed in a different category to be partial between the victim and the culprit (Robotham, 2005).

Disparity

At times when the nurse has a choice to make between a total stranger and a person well known to them or even a relative, it is obvious that they will most probably go for the latter irrespective of the matter of urgency between the two cases. All medical practitioners should be good examples to the society in issues regarding impartiality and social justice to uphold cultural equality amongst all people groups (Kerr, 2000).

References

Association of State and Territorial Directors of Nursing (ASTDN) (2006). Public health nursing: a partner for healthy populations. Michigan: American Nurses.

Bond, J. and Senga, B. (1986). Sociology and Health Care: An Introduction for Nurses and Other Health Care Professionals (1st Ed). Oxford: Churchill Livingstone.

Clark, J. (2009). Community Health Nursing. New York: Pearson.

Cowley, S. (2001). Public Health in Policy and Practice: A Sourcebook for Health Visitors and Community Nurses. London: Bailliere Tindall.

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HOLBEN (2009). Community Nutrition in Action. New York: Brooks Cole.

Kerr, J. (2000). Community Health Promotion: Challenges for Practice. London: Bailliere Tindall.

McArthur-Rouse F. (2007). From expert to novice: An exploration of the experiences of new academic staff to a department of adult nursing studies. United Kingdom: North Holmes University press.

Robotham, A. (2005). Health Visiting: Specialist Community Public Health Nursing. Oxford: Churchill Livingstone.

Rutter, P. (2004). Community Pharmacy: Symptoms, Diagnosis and Treatment. New York: AMC.

Sonkin, J. and Scott, L. (2000). Legal and Ethical Issues in the Treatment of Multiple Victimization Child Maltreatment. London: Prentice Hall.

Stevens R. and Havens B. (1990). A continuing model for community health nursing practice. North Carolina: North Carolina University Press.

Thompson, J. (2001). Health Needs of People with Learning Disability: The Public Health Agenda. London: Bailliere Tindall.

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