Community Nurses: How Nurses Make a Difference in the Community
By Erin Wallace
Nurses who work in the public health sphere are critically important to public health efforts and caring for patients in their communities.
The University of Michigan's Center for Excellence in Public Health Workforce collected data from state and local health departments and found that community nurses report high levels of job satisfaction despite facing significant hurdles in their communities.
Despite these difficulties, community nurses continue to make a difference in the lives of people they serve. Learn more about the array of roles community nurses play in their community.
1. Community Nurses Play a Big Role in Awareness
Unlike RNs who work in hospitals and care for a handful of patients on a daily basis, community nurses care for entire communities of people.
In their roles, they educate large groups of people about preventative health, including immunizations and annual screenings for men and women.
They also help improve a community's health and safety and increase people's access to quality health care.
2. Community Nurses Help Improve Access to Services for Under-Served Populations
Some communities may have populations of people who have limited access to medical care, and community nurses can help educate these people on where they can obtain immunizations, where they can go for health screenings for various cancer types or just ways they can improve their health and well-being.
3. Implement Programs for Individuals At-Risk for Diabetes
Julianne Haydel of Haydel Consulting Services, LLC, an informative resource for home health, hospice and health care regulations, says that when community nurses implement the CDC's National Diabetes Prevention Program, they can help cut patients' diabetes risk by half.
“While the cost of diabetes is enormous,” she says, “the toll on quality of life is even greater.” When community nurses make an effort to educate members of their communities on diabetes prevention, they help improve the health and well-being for everyone.
4. Hold Medication Reviews at Group Events
Haydel says that “due to the high cost of medications, many seniors are reluctant to throw [them] out. Identifying duplicate meds and medications with the same [purpose] can prevent medication errors” when seniors choose to self-administer them.
Community nurses can be effective educators in this area, helping individuals understand what each medication is for and how they can set up schedules for taking it.
Community nurses act as patient advocates, provide emotional support and positively impact the members of the community they serve.
When they work to educate members of their cities and towns, they can help ensure everyone has access to proper health care and treatment programs.