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The Community Health Nurse Role

Updated on July 28, 2014

Sample Nursing School Essay

Nursing School is difficult, I know. Many times I thought if only I could see an example of an essay it would help me so much to come up with ideas. I never could find quality essays online to review so I decided to put some of mine out there in hopes to help others through the tough times. The following is from my Bachelors program, community health course about the role the community health nurse plays.

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The Community Health Nurse

The role the community health nurse plays within the community is complex. It can be comprised into three core activities: assessment and evaluation, early identification and intervention and health promotion (Association of Community Health Nursing Educators [ACHNE], 2009). The foundation of the community health nurse’s role is assessing the health needs of the community. The assessment helps the nurse determine the health needs of the individuals and families in the community as well as any economic and social conditions that impact the community’s health status (Nies & McEwen, 2011, Chapter 6). In order to be effective, the community health nurse must be able to development partnerships within the community and be able to identify, understand and have an appreciation of the values of the community they are working with (Abrams, 2010). Once the assessment is made, the community health nurse can develop a health plan tailored for the needs of the community, using the resources that are available. Community focused health planning as been shown to have a widespread influence on health and illness patterns of the population (Kulbok, Thatcher, Park, & Meszaros, 2012).

Health planning is multifaceted and includes individual care needs, health education, disease prevention and environmental hazard control. Health planning is done across different community aggregate levels and problem prevention levels (ACHNE, 2009). Community aggregate levels include the individual, groups and the entire community as a whole. The three problem prevention levels are primary, secondary and tertiary. Primary prevention includes health promotion and protection from illness. Secondary prevention is early identification of illness and treatment to decrease debility. Tertiary prevention occurs when there is already been irreversible disability and has the goal to restore the individual to an optimal level of functioning (Nies & McEwen, 2011, p. 110). Another important part of health planning is to make certain that the essential services needed are available within the community. This helps eliminate disparities among ethnic, racial and socioeconomic groups within the community (ACHNE, 2009). The first step in the creating the health plan is assessing for a need in the community. The nurse then needs to develop a goal to achieve and the steps it will take along the way to reach the goal. It is important to identify the desired outcomes and measurable goals in the planning stage in order to be able to develop successful interventions and evaluations (Nies & McEwen, 2011, Chapter 7). Health planning will have different goals and objectives across the different aggregate and prevention level with planning at the community level the most complex (ACHNE, 2009).

Although the community health nurse is the key figure in the implementation of the health plan, the nurse must remember that they are a partner with the community they are working with. The community health nurse should build a high level of trust and involvement in the community prior to plan implementation. It has been shown that nurses who can take a leadership role in the needs of the community and plan solutions in partnership with the community have improved outcomes (Kulbok et al., 2012). Objectives to reach desired goals include counseling, health promotion, risk reduction, disease management and hands on nursing care. The majority of the health plans implementation is provided through education (Abrams, 2010). Depending on the aggregate population, the nurse must find efficient ways of reaching the people in the community. This can included one-on-one teaching, television and radio ads, posters, flyer distribution, town meetings and the internet Health promotion and risk reduction interventions will focus on modifying factors that have demonstrated a health risk in the community (ACHNE, 2009). It is the nurse’s responsibility to implement the plan and evaluate the progress throughout the implementation in order for the plan to have the best success possible.

Implementing a plan to improve the health of a community is not the final step in the process for a community nurse. It is the nurse’s responsibility to determine the success of the project. Finding the factors that made the project a success or failure can help the nurse in future projects (Kulbok et al., 2012). In order to do this, the process must be evaluated. Once the plans implementation is evaluated, the nurse is able to change or develop new interventions to improve the care provided to the population (ACHNE, 2009). The evaluations can also be helpful to the nurse by using the information to find the communities health priorities and develop new health plans the community needs.

A community health nurse helps to build the community by creating a healthy population. The impact of community nursing reaches more individuals than any other nursing field. Community health nurses are an advocate for the entire community. The overall health of the community is in the hands of the community health nurse. Due to the complex scope of practice and the size of the population the community health nurse serves, it is in the best interest of the community that it is accomplished by a nurse with post-graduate training in public health (Abrams, 2010).


References

Abrams, S. (2010). Hints for the aspiring public health nurse. Public Health Nursing, 27(2), 196-199. http://dx.doi.org/doi:http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1525-1446.2010.00844.x

Association of Community Health Nursing Educators . (2009). Essentials of baccalaureate nursing education for entry level community/public health nursing practice. Retrieved from http://www.achne.org/files/EssentialsOfBaccalaureate_Fall_2009.pdf

Kulbok, P. A., Thatcher, E., Park, E., & Meszaros, P. S. (2012, May). Evolving public health nursing roles: Focus on community participatory health promotion and prevention. Online Journal Of Issues In Nursing, 17(2). http://dx.doi.org/doi:http://dx.doi.org/10.3912/OJIN.Vol17No02Man01

Nies, M., & McEwen, M. (2011). Community/Public Health Nursing: Promoting the Health of Populations (5th ed.). St. Louis, Missouri: Elsevier Saunders.

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