Week 1: 1/3/19-1/19/19
During the first week, future nurses with the Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) were required to understand the major principles of public health and recognize its mission in order to be ready to address various social health issues. After reading several credible sources, it was possible to gather sufficient material and set priorities for developing and completing an Individual Success Plan (IDP). This kind of work helps the DNP candidate to analyze personal skills and to build readiness to investigate various databases, conduct web searches, cooperate with others (interprofessional collaboration), and promote health research. Disease prevention and support of a healthy lifestyle are the aims of all nurses, in general, and DNPs, in particular. Many approaches can be used to achieve these goals, and the distinctive feature of this week was to clarify new practice approaches and apply background knowledge.
Personally, I learned the basics of public health as part of the endeavor to take new steps and contribute to professional growth in the field of nursing. I comprehended that good nurses not only should take care of particular patients and improve their knowledge of health and conditions but also must consider the wide scope of their practice and focus on the population as a whole, all the while never forgetting about personal characteristics. Identifying the DNP’s roles through the prism of public health was a serious step taken during this week.
Week 2: 1/10/19-1/16/19
This week comprised the first stage in learning the measures of health through exploring epidemiological, biostatistical, and occupational information. The process marked the beginning stages of an epidemiology paper to be completed part by part during the course. In Week 2, the first section was to be created with a description of general data, an analysis of population health concerns, and a discussion of the fundamentals of epidemiology. The significance of epidemiology lies in its possibility to identify health disparities and evaluate existing health policies to facilitate offering new improvements and ideas.
During this week, I was able to identify several important current controversies and implications for population health. The application of descriptive epidemiology in nursing science was properly described, creating a solid background for further projects and investigations. The history of the connection between public health nursing and epidemiology has been long and productive. Nurses must use the knowledge gained from this experience to introduce new methods of care as well as understand ways to prevent various complications and to reduce mortality due to medical error or inappropriate diagnosis. On the one hand, I was intrigued by the peculiarities of health data measurement. On the other hand, it was a real challenge to maintain a distinction between too general facts and personal information and the proper identification of epidemiology components for the chosen population (in this case, at-risk populations).
Week 3: 1/17/19-1/23/19
The third week in the course focused attention on applying and analyzing epidemiological data and comparing personal health-related values with those of an underserved population. A significant step in nurse education is attaining understanding of the connection between theory and practice and the ability to identify proper practical application of the offered theoretical knowledge. Health literacy plays a crucial role in the work of DNPs, including discussing cultural safety, describing desired healthcare outcomes, and offering new methods of disease prevention. To complete these tasks, nurses must have the ability to identify the role of technology, recognize available clinical systems, and understand the way that health care is currently delivered.
Creating the second part of the epidemiology paper was a particular challenge for me during the course. I had to combine already-learned theories about epidemiology and its role in nursing and public health and add certain statistical data and examples to prove that my work made sense. The discussion of heart-related diseases among African Americans revealed a number of fascinating details and outcomes. For example, the results of the work of such organizations as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO) should be underlined as these entities present the most credible standards for measuring public health.
Week 4: 1/24/19-1/30/19
The next week covered new issues in public health and its direct dependence on such processes as globalization. In this discussion, special attention was paid to the spread of infectious diseases around the globe and the steps that different organizations have taken to prevent deaths and control people’s health conditions. The WHO is a key player in this process, having the goal of analyzing health situations in different countries as part of helping to define risks and potential opportunities. The economic development of each country determines how well healthcare organizations are able to address various health-related issues and disparities. Inequalities in economies inevitably result in certain differences in the work of medical workers and nurses.
I explored the work of the US Agency for International Development to understand how an American democratic approach can positively affect worldwide attitudes toward different aspects of human life, including humanitarian crises, violence, security, and health issues. On a related note, the United Nations is an international organization with a strong vision regarding human rights, health emergencies, inequalities, and even food production. Investigation of these topics strengthened my understanding of how health disparities have occurred, how the distribution of natural resources has led to inequalities, and how care delivery has varied in different countries. I found that countries’ leadership and government defined their economic models and delivery of health care, but their results could be more sufficient if ordinary people made contributions to public health.
Week 5: 1/31/19-2/6/19
I have always believed that the evaluation of social and ethical issues in health care has helped to improve the quality of nursing as a practice. This step is of assistance in defining the standards of cooperation and underlining the importance of each patient. Many factors can be used to differentiate populations, including personal values and professional needs. In addition, political influences continue to develop, promoting the creation of governmental and non-governmental healthcare facilities. Each facility usually tends to have its own list of ethical considerations and issues to take into account when offering services to patients.
This week, I focused my attention on the importance of such values as the protection of private information in public health. It is not always easy to understand what data can be released and who the recipients may be. At the same time, to prevent diseases and identify threats, it is obligatory to reveal some personal facts and histories, and nurses must realize the level of their responsibilities to their patients. I also learned the characteristics of relationships that should be developed between patients, nurses, and colleagues. Such themes as sexual relationships, end-of-life issues, and online support involve a certain commitment, depending on the local cultures, chosen religions, and social norms.
Week 6: 2/2/19-2/13/19
The sixth week was probably one of the most exciting and interesting stages as it incorporated the topics of health, disease prevention, and evidence-based strategies. As a rule, people can control their health and receive treatment according to their insurance coverage. However, many living in the United States are uninsured, lacking the ability to access healthcare facilities as needed. Therefore, I wanted to achieve the best results in this type of work and evaluate available community-based care delivery models for people who are lacking medical insurance.
I decided to narrow down the topic by focusing my research on diabetes cases among uninsured people. When patients are not able to control the level of blood sugar or take medications in a timely manner, their chances of hospital readmissions and lethal outcomes increase. Uninsured people are under more serious threat because they may be less likely to understand the importance of control due to a lack of education, training, and cooperation with healthcare experts. It is the responsibility of healthcare professionals to promote the necessary knowledge to help prevent disease development and preclude epidemics.
Week 7: 2/14/19-2/20/19
Health promotion and the reduction of risks is a frequently discussed topic in many medical and healthcare conferences and meetings. During this week, the students’ task was to use already-obtained knowledge about epidemiology and at-risk populations and identify theoretical frameworks that can be used to achieve positive care outcomes. I continued my investigation of African Americans having heart-related risks and learned the theories and models that were effective in implementing health promotion activities and developing a delivery model through evaluation.
The Theory of Reasoned Action was selected, having a distinctive feature that involved the connection between behavior, attitudes, and social norms. I strongly believe that individuals’ health status depends on how well they can reason their actions and decisions. Therefore, it is necessary to make people think about their habits and assess consequences. The PRECEDE-PROCEED model has provided an effective tool for people to assess their health needs, identify complications through epidemiological assessment, consider behaviors and the environment, apply for education, and learn about free services. Although diseases such as diabetes cannot be eliminated because of genetic histories and personal characteristics, public health nurses and other stakeholders may prepare people physically, emotionally, and morally to deal with these issues.
Week 8: 2/21/19-2/27/19
The last week of the course aimed at evaluating all the offered practices as well as health literacy in using epidemiology studies to solve urgent public health concerns. At the end of the week, potential DNPs were required to recognize the major principles of public health and succeed in building a culturally diverse healthcare system. Patient education and health promotion are two integral aspects of nursing practice. It is wrong to expect that disease prevention will become an inborn characteristic of the population. This skill is necessarily developed over time and involves current care delivery methods, epidemiological findings, and globalization outcomes. Technological progress, improved ethical considerations, and new economic models define the direction for the professional growth of nurses in their intention to decrease the numbers of dissatisfied patients, readmissions, or deaths. At this moment, I can see that I need to reconsider my goals as a future DNP, not changing them completely but focusing better on such aspects as culture, religion, economics, and even politics.