Community health nursing entails a synthesis of conventional nursing practice, public health practice, and primary health care. The practice of community health nursing often expands into critical areas of disease deterrence, health enrichment, community and social development, empowerment, advocacy, and health research. The evolution of community health nursing’s role has been explained in different contexts by nursing historians and available literature. This essay purposes to evaluate some health issues and influences that led to the emergence of community health nursing roles, especially in the U.S.
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The role conflicts between various health professions have led to the emergence of community health nursing. In the U.S., the state of healthcare has been adversely affected by conflicts of interest exhibited on several levels. Adversarial competition has been witnessed in the mainstream healthcare system due to unresolved role differences between the medical professionals. A case in point is the role conflict existing between doctors and nurses.
The nurse’s role in mainstream healthcare delivery is often decimated because the physician has the final say on the health needs of patients regardless of fundamental matters of the nursing paradigm. This has led to the emergence of the community health nursing role as more nurses prefer to work directly with communities rather than work in healthcare institutions where they cannot advocate for the needs of patients or question institutional policies (Swiedek, 2009).
The necessity for cost containment in the American healthcare system and other healthcare systems around the world has occasioned more individuals to prefer home-based healthcare solutions. The skyrocketing cost of inpatient treatment coupled with poor service delivery in mainstream healthcare facilities has led to the emergence of the community health nursing role. Medical insurance companies and employers across the world are dramatically reducing the number of days they are willing to pay for hospital admissions.
For purposes of cost containment, main healthcare providers prematurely discharge deserving patients regardless of the doctor’s instructions or the nurse’s recommendation. As such, family members find themselves assuming more responsibility to provide care for the sick. Other individuals may prefer to seek home-based treatment and care for purposes of cost containment. Such scenarios have led to the emergence of the community health nursing role (Swiedek, 2009).
The technological advancements of the 21st century have brought a heightened inclination towards individualism and self-reliance. More people are taking personal responsibility for the issues affecting their lives, including healthcare choices. For example, employers no longer enjoy a commanding role over the healthcare needs and choices of their subjects as employees increasingly play a pivotal role in determining their personal health needs and wellness (Swiedek, 2009).
In this respect, the role of community health nursing in society has been stimulated as more people have parted ways with conventional healthcare systems to more individualized means. Individualism and self-reliance are more preferred than nationalizing healthcare systems as is the case in Canada. The above coupled with tightly bound social fabrics within families has exemplified the need for community health nursing.
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Jean Watson’s theory of caring can be used to propose some nursing interventions aimed at addressing community health concerns highlighted in the article. It is indeed true that the nursing profession has stagnated and strayed from its roots due to a drastic change in the roles that nurses are supposed to play (Swiedek, 2009). For instance, a modern nurse is expected to make a medical diagnosis and prescribe medications. Based on Watson’s theory, modern nurses need to have a resilient open-minded arts background to be able to deal with such challenges. Watson asserts that caring for the sick can be effectively displayed and practiced at an interpersonal level.
If such a philosophy is adopted in our healthcare systems, problems of role conflicts and poor healthcare services will be effectively dealt with. The problems witnessed as physicians try to stamp their authority over treatment methodologies regardless of the nurses’ inputs will also be dealt with if all stakeholders follow the basic premise that satisfaction of the patient’s human needs is fundamental in any treatment procedure.
According to Watson, a caring atmosphere grants the full development of potential while permitting individuals to choose the actions that suit them. If this intervention is incorporated in our healthcare systems, the problems associated with insurance companies and premature discharges of patients owing to escalating costs will be effectively dealt with. Health insurance companies need to allow individuals to exercise their preferences in healthcare matters.
Not all individuals prefer to be admitted to hospitals. In this respect, individuals need to choose the healthcare actions that best suit them, including home-based healthcare. This will have a positive impact on cost containment as it will reduce hospitalization charges. It is imperative to note that community health nursing is destined to become a leading model of healthcare as it guarantees individualized care.