PHN-600: Foundations of Public Health Nursing.


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This course PHN-600: Foundations of Public Health Nursing examines the evolving landscape of public health nursing, including the various roles and settings for public health nursing practice. Learners learn about the influence of social, behavioral, and cultural factors on health. Learners appraise theoretical frameworks useful for understanding and improving quality and community and population health while considering influential developments in the field and the regulatory, legal, and ethical guidelines that inform practice.

What is public health nursing?

Public health nursing is the practice of promoting and protecting the health of populations using knowledge from nursing, social, and public health sciences.

Who is a public nurse?

A public health nurse is a registered nurse (RN) who advocates for positive changes in population health. This exciting career involves practicing public health nursing practices which give nurses the opportunity to work directly within communities to educate people and give them the tools they need to improve their health outcomes.

Additionally, public health nursing is a systematic process helpful to individuals in a community and it involves the following:

  • The health and health care needs of a population are evaluated in order to identify subpopulations, families, and individuals who would benefit from health promotion or who are at risk of illness, injury, disability, or premature death.
  • After identifying the target population, a plan for intervention is established with the community to meet identified needs that take into account available resources, the range of activities that contribute to health, and the prevention of illness injury, disability, and premature death.
  • When the plan is developed, it is then implemented effectively, efficiently, and equitably.
  • Afterward, evaluations are conducted to determine the extent to which the intervention has an impact on the health status of individuals and the population.
  • Finally, the results of the process are used to influence and direct the current delivery of care, deployment of health resources, and the development of the local, regional, state, and national health policy and research to promote health and prevent disease.

As a systematic process, public health nursing is based and is consistent with:

  1. Community strengths, needs, and expectations;
  2. Current scientific knowledge;
  3. Available resources;
  4. Accepted criteria and standards of nursing practice;
  5. Agency purpose, philosophy, and objectives; and
  6. The participation, cooperation, and understanding of the population.

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Significant responsibilities/Roles of public health nurses.

There are several important duties that are performed by public health nurses. These duties may or may not influence the general population but are very crucial in maintaining the overall quality standard of population health. These crucial duties of public health nurses include:

  1. Monitor health status to identify community health problems.
  2. Identify, investigate, control, and prevent health problems and environmental health hazards in the community.
  3. Educate the public about current and emerging health issues.
  4. Promote community partnerships to identify and solve health problems.
  5. Create policies and plans that support individual and community health efforts.
  6. Enforce laws and regulations that protect health and ensure safety.
  7. Link people to needed health services.
  8. Assure a diverse, adequate, and competent workforce to support the public health system.
  9. Evaluate effectiveness, accessibility, and quality of personal and population-based health services.
  10. Conduct research to seek new insights and innovative solutions to health problems.

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