On the Role of Nurses in Assessing Public Health Risks

Abstract

Community health nursing is a discipline bearing a pivotal role in the wellbeing of people in a given society. Community health risk assessment is one of the roles in nursing mainly for ensuring disease prevention and good outcome of services offered by practitioners. Implementation of a community health risk assessment requires government policies stating the framework of operations. Moreover, the policies should enforce ethics in nursing practice in order to promote good health. The nursing social policy statement should also be considered while establishing a community health risk assessment role. The outcome will promote good social contact between nursing as a profession and the community it stemmed from. The role will also enhance understanding of the nurse practice act in various institutions, including colleges. Finally, the role requires higher professional understanding, and new graduates would be only relevant for basic duties as they develop advanced skills in community health risk assessment with time.

Community Health Nursing

Community health nursing is a profession that integrates the understanding of nurses into the concepts of public health in providing care to a given population. It was established following the need for health promotion and primary care provision in managing diseases and injuries (Evans-Agnew et al., 2017). It fosters community development by enhancing wellbeing through the monitoring of population health and the epidemiology of infectious diseases. The interventions given by the community health nursing system are prevention of diseases, management of their spread, and promotion of good health (Evans-Agnew et al., 2017). This paper discusses the assessment of community health risk as a future role of nurses. It emphasizes the significance of the duty, considers the policies and ethical matters, and unveils details on the practices associated with health risk assessment.

Background Information on Community Health Risk Assessment

Community health nursing covers diverse settings where care is given to individuals, including clinics, churches or worship environments, refugee camps, schools, and other places where people gather. The ultimate objective of driving healthcare provision is to achieve the overall wellbeing of people in society through disease prevention (Madjar et al., 2019). Ensuring that good health is achieved requires deterring the contraction of diseases from a contaminated source in the environment or eliminating chances of transmission from an infected person to another. Moreover, it entails determining the causes of infection, their frequency of occurrence, and evaluating the danger it puts on the community through transmission among individuals (Evans-Agnew et al., 2017). Therefore, community health risk assessment is a requirement, since it plays a pivotal role in promoting disease prevention.

Health risk assessment aids the development of interventions and strategies against the existing cases of infections through planning. Access to good healthcare services requires a prior understanding of service providers including nurses, on the disease trends and risk factors (Kagan et al., 2017). Investigations focused on quantifying data related to health risk factors allow for insightful evaluation of possible remedies and designing appropriate tools to curb infectious diseases effectively. Moreover, the cost of delivering treatments and educational materials does not become exorbitant or uneconomical to the government (Madjar et al., 2019). In a nutshell, health risk assessment is a prerequisite for proper planning of service delivery operations to the community.

Assessment of the health risk factors in a community enhances the best outcome of interventions used in the management of diseases. The people at the early stages of infection still have stable immunity to complement the effectiveness of treatments and other health support services provided (Madjar et al., 2019). Doing research consistently on the factors putting human health at risk of diseases and injuries is instrumental in designing policies to deter the progression of diseases. Moreover, community health risk assessments enhance innovation in research with the focus on modifying the source of danger to diminish chances of vulnerability to an infection that can be pandemic (Evans-Agnew et al., 2017).

Legal and Ethical Standards for Implementing Nursing Health Risk Assessment

Establishing community health risk assessment by nurses requires a clear framework of duties to practice while conducting the programs. A strategic work plan always exists in every sector of the government and applies to all positions in both public and private schemes of employment (Pope et al., 2016). Nurses’ community health risk assessment role should also be established since they get into direct contact with patients to determine the root causes of infections or outbreaks from the medical perspective. Implementing a well-detailed framework within the government policies enhances the monitory of operations in all sectors and promotes the efficiency of workers (Pope et al., 2016). Thus, nurses’ role in community health risk assessment is likely to benefit from the legal acts supporting incorporated to support their duties, even through government financial schemes.

Health risk assessment is an area with overlapping responsibilities with other disciplines. The public health officers, as well as community nurses, perform a risk assessment concerning infectious diseases. It is ethical to have professional specialization to enable the efficiency of their operations within a given community (Kagan et al., 2017). Moreover, in the section of community health nursing, responsibilities should be devolved to build assurance of perfection in managing diseases. Through professional specialization and training programs, community health risk assessment nurses should be trained to facilitate good operations and diversification within the discipline (Xia et al., 2016). It is ethical to develop professional certification which would enhance the implementation of community health risk assessment in nursing.

The health risk assessment must be focused on promoting good health and wellbeing of patients as well as community, both physically, emotionally, and socially. Confidentiality, mutual understanding with people, ignorance in practicing healthcare duties, invasion of privacy, and life terminating activities by practitioners form part of ethical matters upon which violation should lead to prosecution. The trained nurses with interest in that role should have insight into public health regulations to prevent getting exposed or transmitting the disease to other people while performing their duties (Xia et al., 2016). These ethical policies when implemented will aid the protection of both people in the community and healthcare practitioners.

Impact of Social Policy Statement

Nursing is a professional discipline that evolved within the society of people and has direct social contact with the community. The nursing social policy statement is applicable in the role of nurses in risk assessment since it is from individuals and their locality where risk assessment programs target to promote good health. However, as stated in the social policy statement, it is the society that permits the profession to execute its functions. A good social contract between society and the nursing profession, therefore, lies in the perceptions and beliefs of people in the society being assisted. Moreover, it is anchored on the understanding of nurses while in the course of delivering services to the people (Evans-Agnew et al., 2017). The social policy statement is, therefore, a vital component of establishing a role for nurses in community health risk assessment.

The social policy statement also plays an important role in monitoring the execution of nursing duties and maintaining trust by the public. It is the sole responsibility of nursing professionals to build a mutual understanding with the people in a community since they depend on them for the fulfillment of objectives. Driven by the principle of self-regulation as a quality and excellence in performing duties as the engine of service, nursing roles should pioneer understanding, enhance progress in people’s well-being and develop the profession (Xia et al., 2016). It, therefore, implies that nursing roles in community health risk assessment are governed by the same social policy as clinical nursing is directed.

Scope and Standards of Practice

Community health nursing has a major focus on dealing with the overall health status or conditions of diseases within a society. The risk assessment role in nursing targets to understand the potential sources of infection or injuries to human beings in a community. The scope of community nursing health risk assessment encompasses the trained professionals at the bachelor’s level and above who are in healthcare facilities or practice fields (Kagan et al., 2017). It entails diagnosing patients for a pathogen or health condition and collecting information from them concerning the known etiological agents. In the fields, the nurses collect data supporting the presumptive tests from the clinical practices. Moreover, they offer treatment and healthcare support to patients under home-based care. Achieving that entails evaluating the condition of the patients and immunity status, and categorizing them based on the biodata (Madjar et al., 2019). Nurses under the role of health risk assessment must be registered with the professional body having the mandate of developing the scope and standards of operation.

The standards of operation in the health risk assessment are to fulfill the demands of excellence in nursing as a field. Assessments, diagnosis, and identification of the outcome should involve specialists who are having advanced skills and experience, to ensure that the details about health conditions are not missed. Ensuring that all objectives are accomplished, trainees will be incorporated on the basic level of operations. The standards set are aimed at fostering the development of competencies in the skills required for the role and executing duties excellently (Madjar et al., 2019). Therefore, the scope and standards of operation will follow the policies implemented by the recognized nursing professional body for registering health practitioners.

Impact on the Nurse Practice Act

The nursing practice act is implemented by a board of nurses in a state to protect the community from bad practices. Setting the standard of operation to ensure that a high level of performance is maintained and people’s lives are well taken care of promotes the values of the nursing practice act. Taking trainees with an understanding of principles employed in health risk management and skilled in executing the duties demanded ensures that nursing policies are met automatically (Hampson et al., 2017). The new role developed, therefore, would aid in promoting nursing as a profession and eliminating all chances of malpractices while delivering services to the patients in the community.

Maintaining high standards of operation and defining the scope of activities in the role of community health risk assessment enhances understanding of the nurse practice act. The professionals in the field of nursing have the sole responsibility of interpreting the nurse practice act at the state level. However, it is the sole responsibility of even learning institutions to ensure that understanding of the nurse practice act is achieved since they train practitioners (Hampson et al., 2017). Putting the standards empowers the voice of the nurse practice act automatically by ensuring that no malpractices are going on in the new role with multiple duties.

Reflection on the Responsibilities of the New Graduate Nurse

The community health risk assessment requires competence in the diagnosis of infectious diseases and the identification of their causative agents. The new graduate would be instrumental in receiving patients and ordering for or collecting clinical samples for further processing. Subsequent procedures should be done by an expert as the graduate learns. Moreover, he/she is supposed to record primary data and screen for their accuracy, leaving the analysis and interpretation for experts. Moreover, he or she is supposed to assist through the delivery of practical equipment and reagents as they monitor closely what the experts are doing to hasten their learning and development of skills. The role requires good communication skills and understanding of patients’ psychology, competence in clinical sample collection and macroscopic analysis, and the ability to learn new techniques faster (Hampson et al., 2017). Moreover, it requires critical thinking and being attentive to every detail of information.

Conclusion

The community health risk assessment role for nurses bears a pivotal for community wellbeing as it focuses on disease prevention and good outcome of health services provided. It should, therefore, be established through government policies and ethical standards to be implemented to enhance the efficiency of promoting the new nursing role in community health risk assessment. The social nursing act should be considered to fasten operations and promote excellence in the services nurses provide. The outcome of taking the nurse’s social statement policy into account while establishing a new role is the promotion of the values of the nurse practice act. The nurse graduates should be assigned to these roles but on the basic level to ensure excellence in duties.

References

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Kagan, I., Shachaf, S., Rapaport, Z., Livne, T., & Madjar, B. (2017). Public health nurses in Israel: A case study on a quality improvement project of nurse’s work life. Public Health Nursing, 34(1), 78-86. Web.

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Xia, R., Stone, J. R., Hoffman, J. E., & Klappa, S. G. (2016). Promoting community health and eliminating health disparities through community based participatory research. Physical Therapy, 93(3), 410-417. Web.