Role of Public Health Nurses in Community Health

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Observation of Three Public Health Clinics

As part of my observation, I observed three public health clinics. I decided to code them clinic 1, clinic 2, and clinic 3. Clinic 1 provided services such as vaccinations for school-going children, as well as adult immunizations for a variety of illnesses including hepatitis A, HPV, TD, TDAP, Typhoid, Yellow fever, and Flu. The clinic also provided TB testing, communicable disease reporting, and had a perinatal program, among other healthcare services.

Clinic 1 was a public clinic, but on the day I conducted my observation, I mostly saw women and children. The clinic wasn't busy that day. The only staff available were two LVNs and a front desk clerk. The clinic had no examination rooms and it served low-income patients, many of them Caucasians, and on that day one Cambodian family was present. The only good thing provided at the clinic was Health Fair which gives away free children vaccines before they expired.

Clinic 2 had small examination rooms which served a diverse population that included Vietnamese, Arabians, Ethiopians, and Hispanics, among others. Among the services offered by clinic 2 were indigent in nature and included monitoring trends, educating and providing direct health care services to weak and at-risk populations, and providing blood pressure screenings. The clinic charged $25 per visit and had a vaccination program for children called Vaccine for Children that was funded by federal and state funds.

Clinic 3 had old-fashioned spacey examination rooms as well as a set of RNs, LVNs, and an Epidemiologist. These staff members enabled the clinic to perform a variety of services for their diverse regular low-income patients, which included providing prenatal care, dietary services, breastfeeding counseling, and teaching a child seat safety course as well as providing free car seats after the course completion. The clinic was also attached to a WIC program suite, a supplemental program for women, infants, and children.

Comparison of the Three Clinics

From the above descriptions of the three clinics, it can be seen that the role of the public health nurses is of great importance to the community. The RNs undertake every role and are at the forefront of care provision for the community. It is only in clinic three that we have an Epidemiologist and a Dietician. The clinics show some similarities as well as differences.

The patient population in all the clinics is a low-income population, and in each of the clinics, more attention is given to women and children. Clinic 1, unlike clinic 2 and 3, does not have an examination room. The services offered in these clinics also differ, as well as the number of staffs. The biggest barrier to preventive health care in the community is the lack of funds. Out of the three clinics, it is only in clinic 2 that we see the mention of federal and state funds in the Vaccine for Children program; the other clinics do not have programs funded by the federal government or the state.

Importance of Public Health Nurses

The article "Public health nurses strive to keep the community safe, healthy" by Lisa Campbell and Walker Linderman supports the information observed and obtained at the public health clinics by relating it to the importance of public health nursing to community health. According to the article, public health nurses are the front liners in healthcare provision and prevention. They have a close relationship with the community members, and their input is greatly needed especially in a time of epidemics.

Public health nurses can engage in contact tracing, monitor and treat those affected, and provide care and education in the community. For instance, when the Ebola virus broke out in the U.S., the health department employed the services of the nurses to minimize its spread and preventing more people from contracting the virus (Campbell and Linderman).

Expanded Leadership Roles of Public Health Nurses

The article echoes and amplifies the role of public health nurses as observed in the three public health clinics by citing that the nurses are taking expanded leadership roles in public health institutions. They have taken over as consultants who bridge public and private partnerships, lead program development and evaluation, facilitate quality improvement, guide project management, and coordinate case management (Campbell and Linderman). These complex roles are aimed at improving the care provided to the community, and beyond the community level because to them, the community is their client.

Works Cited

Campbell, L. A., and T. W. Linderman. "Public health nurses strive to keep community safe, healthy." The American nurse 47.2 (2015): 10-10.

October 13, 2023




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Public Health

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