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Where Community Health Intersects With Nursing

In healthcare, there are many needs across diverse populations. Physicians, nurses, administrators and other healthcare professionals are responsible for ensuring every individual receives (and has access to) top-quality care. Yet, there are specific positions that help drive this initiative.

For example, community health nursing is a form of public health nursing that takes a unique approach to wellness. While it falls under the greater public health sphere, community health nursing differs from public health nursing.

The American Public Health Association (APHA) states, “public health nursing is the practice of promoting and protecting the health of populations using knowledge from nursing, social, and public health sciences.” Public health nursing practice “involves advocacy, policy development and planning, which address issues of social justice.” Professionals within the public sector handle aspects such as statewide care, guidance during pandemic outbreaks and health prevention measures.

In programs like the online Registered Nurse (RN) to Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) program from Youngstown State University (YSU), nurses learn or improve their ability to support public health goals and advocate for individuals within the confines of their particular community. There are many ways in which they approach these efforts.

Specific Responsibilities of Community Health Nurses

According to Indeed, “community health nursing is a niche area of public health nursing that focuses more specifically on advocating for healthcare and medical services to local communities or populations that need it. They review data and work with local healthcare facilities and government agencies to ensure those individuals receive the care they need to live a healthy life.”

Nurses working in the community health sector can promote community health by meeting with and listening to community members within their jurisdiction. To advocate for the population effectively, they need to understand “who” the community members are and what they are looking for in a better healthcare system.

“Community health nurses focus more on the resources that community members have access to that support health and well-being,” states Indeed.

Nurses must also be able to identify when something is not right for the community. They have an obligation to care for residents by being aware of current, overarching health concerns among community members.

Without continuing research and extensive knowledge about the community population, community health nurses could not affect change in the lives of the patients they serve. They must work for the benefit of humanity and ensure all procedures are ethical.

Nurse Environments

Nurses are needed within every environment, regardless of the health sector they oversee. They are valuable to society due to their dedication to the healthcare field and the patients under their care.

According to the Association of Public Health Nurses (APHN), nurses “work in a variety of settings such as health departments, schools, homes, community health centers, clinics, correctional facilities, worksites, out of mobile vans and even dog sleds.”

However, community health nurses are not limited to these healthcare environments. They are also encouraged to enter into areas such as medical laboratories and hospitals. Those who have obtained their registered nursing (RN) license can work toward a degree in nursing that will allow them to become a certified community health nurse.

Inform Community Health With a Bachelor’s Degree

One way to inform community health needs is to further your career and earn your BSN degree. The online RN to BSN program at Youngstown State University equips graduates to be the nurse their community needs.

Students enrolled in the program sharpen their practical and analytical skills, broaden their understanding of best practices and take on more responsibilities as a leader in a hospital or healthcare organization. The intensive program guides students through their focus on subjects such as:

  • Technological strategies to evaluate and document information
  • Community health practices and protocols
  • Development of leadership within the RN role
  • Intervention techniques
  • Disease prevention

For example, the Health Promotion Across the Lifespan course covers the basics of health promotion and disease prevention for all individuals at every stage of life. In the Community Health Nursing for RNs course, students learn why it’s so important to assess at-risk population groups in their communities and emphasize wellness for all.

Each future graduate will obtain the knowledge and skills necessary to enter influential roles in the healthcare field, including nurse manager, clinical nurse specialist, nurse educator, public health nurse, care coordinator or case manager. Due to the program’s accelerated nature, they can start their new career in as few as 10 months.

Learn more about Youngstown State University’s online RN to BSN program.

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