Nurses who decide that they want to work outside of a hospital environment and have more autonomy in their nursing practice may need to earn a bachelor's degree in nursing. In an RN to BSN program, nurses examine the concepts and principles of community health nursing. RNs who serve as community health nurses provide care to vulnerable groups of people and promote the importance of healthy habits such as eating nutritious foods, exercising, and scheduling routine wellness checkups.
What Is Community Health Nursing?
Community health nursing involves a holistic approach to patient care. Interventions are aimed at individuals, families and groups within a geographic area. Nursing care focuses on managing and preventing diseases as well as educating a community about maintaining well-being.
To determine how to educate and treat a community, nurses should consider the following:
- Cultural beliefs
- Socioeconomic factors
Why Is Community Health Nursing Important?
Community health nursing is important because there are members of society who do not have access to healthcare. Nurses work in communities to reach people who need assistance with treating medical conditions and maintaining their health.
Some community members need nurses to visit them in their homes or be available locally so they can walk or take public transportation to meet with them. Some reasons why community members may not seek out medical care include:
- They are unable to pay for healthcare.
- They have no insurance.
- They have no transportation.
- They are not able to physically travel to a physician's office or hospital.
- They lack knowledge of where to go for healthcare.
What Are the Responsibilities of a Community Health Nurse?
Community health nurses possess strong clinical and critical thinking skills and have the analytical ability to solve problems and make decisions. They can adapt their nursing care to the needs of a diverse group of patients. A community health nurse's job may include these responsibilities:
- Administering well-baby assessments and vaccinations.
- Directing expectant and new mothers to healthcare resources so they can receive proper care for themselves and their infants.
- Conducting education programs or handing out information about lead poisoning, substance abuse, dangers of smoking, teen pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases.
- Stopping the spread of infectious diseases such as HIV/AIDS, influenza or hepatitis.
- Aiding the elderly in managing chronic health conditions.
- Providing care to sick or injured children and adults.
Where Do Community Health Nurses Work?
Community health nurses work in small towns, cities or rural areas. In addition, they are employed in a variety of healthcare settings. You may find community health nurses in places such as:
- Community health centers
- Nonprofit organizations
- Private homes
How Can You Become a Community Health Nurse?
To become a community health nurse, you should have several years of nursing experience. An online RN to BSN program is an affordable and convenient option for working nurses with an Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) who want to pursue a career in community health nursing.
Community health nursing is essential to the health and welfare of the entire population. Healthcare should be accessible to everyone. Not only do community health nurses deliver patient care, they also help reduce the occurrence of injuries, illnesses and deaths by informing people about health risks. Through education about healthy choices and advocacy to reform the imbalance in healthcare, community health nurses can make a difference in the lives of the disadvantaged in their communities.
Learn more about St. Thomas University's online RN to BSN program.
Sources:Nurse Journal: Top 10 Community Health Nursing Careers
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