As trusted members of the healthcare profession, nurses play a vital role in educating the public about issues of population and community health, as well as advocating for public health.
Defined as the science of protecting and improving the overall health of a community, public health covers everything from promoting healthy lifestyles to detecting and responding to infectious disease outbreaks.
Historically, public health has often been associated with official or government efforts and includes involvement from both public and private sectors spanning ten essential functions:
- Diagnosing and investigating
- Informing, educating, and empowering
- Mobilizing community partnerships
- Developing policies
- Enforcing laws
- Linking to and providing care
- Assuring a competent workforce
- Evaluating results
In the course of a regular workday, most nurses aren’t asked to develop national or international health policies or conduct scientific research, but they may often serve as the first line of defense for their patients against misinformation, and are ideally positioned to educate their patients about health risks.
All nurses can help influence positive trends in public health by using their voice to address health disparities, educate their individual communities, advocate for vulnerable populations, and above all, set a good example for their patients.
This article is based on the 1-hour on-demand webinar We Are All Public Health Nurses: How Your Practice Impacts the Health of Humanity, presented by Audrey M. Stevenson, PhD, MPH, MSN, FNP-BC.
Watch the full webinar for FREE when you enter promo code IMPACT100 at checkout. Watch now.