Community public health nursing is not entirely different in nursing practice with that of clinical nursing confined in the four corners of the hospital. It also promotes wellness and prevents illness through education and health teachings, provides comfort and care through its delicate nursing care interventions, and emphasizes curative and rehabilitative interventions through individualized efficient approaches. But its peculiarity involves not only caring a single client but by extending thru the whole family and the community.
It is further defined in the book of Community Health Nursing Services as a unique blend of nursing and public health practice woven into a human service that is properly developed and applied by which has a tremendous impact on human well being. Thus, taking this into consideration makes its roles and responsibilities a tremendous mix of art and science, too.
Basing on the concepts of the community public health nursing, the following roles and responsibilities are described below:
Roles and Responsibilities of a Community Health Nurse
1. The main focus of community health nurse is health promotion.
- Identifies the needs and concerns of individuals, groups, families, and the community
- Formulates health plans, especially in the absence of a community physician
- Interprets and implements nursing plans and programs
- Assists other health team members in implementing health programs in the setting
Health Educator/Trainer/ Counsellor
- Acts as resource speaker on health and health related services
- Advocates health programs in the community through dissemination of IEC or Information Education and Communication materials
- Conducts advocacy educations concerning premarital, breastfeeding, and immunization counsellings
- Organizes orientation/ training of concerned groups like pregnant mothers
- Identifies and interprets training needs of health team members and formulate appropriate training program for them
- Conducts and facilitates necessary training or educational orientation to other health team members in the community
2. The recipient of care of community public health nursing practice is extended not only the individual but also to benefit the whole family and community.
- Promotes self- reliance of community and emphasizes their involvement and participation in planning, organizing, implementing and evaluating of health services
- Initiates and implements community development activities
Coordinator of services
- Coordinates health services with concerned individuals and families through the community health team members, government organizations and non- government organizations
- Coordinates nursing plans and programs with other health programs
3. Community health nurse are generalists in terms of their practice through life’s continuum.
Provider of Nursing Care
- Renders direct care to various clients with different needs, may it be at home, in school, clinics or work settings
- Involves the family in the care of the sick or dependent individual, i.e. sick child
4. Continuity of care with the client, family or and the community extends for a longer time involving individuals of all ages and health needs.
- Monitors and detects presence of health concerns in the community through contacts or home visits.
- Utilizes various effective data gathering techniques in keeping an eye on the health status of all recipients of care.
- Records and reports health status and presence of health problems in the community
5. The nature of nursing practice in the community needs the knowledge of biological and social sciences, ecology, clinical nursing, and community organizing, for it to be effective.
- Follows a systematic process of monitoring the health status of the community through the conduct of surveys and home visits
- Conducts researches concerning the health of the community
- Coordinates with government and non- government organizations in the conduct and implementation of studies
- Records data systematically and ensures its validity through accurate and complete data gathering
- Reports prepared reports to concerned organizations i.e. government organization for immediate necessary plans or programs
- Consolidates and reviews reports efficiently.
- Analyzes and interprets consolidated data for monitoring the development in the health matters of the whole community
6. This field of nursing practice utilizes a dynamic process (assessment, planning, implementation, and evaluation) in the provision of continuous care until termination is implicit.
- Promotes and motivates change in the community in their health practices and lifestyle behaviours for them to promote and maintain good health, be knowledgeable and has initiative in accessing health services
- Inculcates self- reliance to brought about development and improvement in the community
My apologies for I only have included a short list of the roles and responsibilities. A community health nurse could still develop other sorts of roles while working in the setting. It may not be evident because of its vast and intricate tasks. What is important is the impact it produces in those individuals who needed the care of a community health nurse.
Paper works, like the graphs and pie charts shown the community health center are not enough to say that a nurse accomplished her work because a much bigger responsibility is laid in front of her – the community. So, despite the short description of the roles and responsibilities of community public health nursing my hopes are up that some of us would like to be one, too or if not, recognize the hardships and efforts of our own nurses in the community in delving with the issues in health in the community.
Photo credits: (1)
Community Health Nursing Services in the Department of Health Philippines (2000). Community Health Nursing. 9th Edition. National League of Government Nurses, Inc.