How nurses tailor their expertise to help the local community
Nurses enter the profession for a myriad of reasons.Some of these reasons include to have an impact on other people’s lives,to work ina meaningful career,to work in the field of medicine, for financial benefits and a flexible career,andbecause they love working with people. There are many reasons why people get into the nursing profession, and once they are there, it seems that mostare determined to stay.
Nursing is one of the most respected professions.Collectively, nurses take pride in what they are doing and in the fact that they make a difference in countless people’s lives. When it comes to places to work and areas of expertise, there are many options for nurses.Theycan spend numerousyears learning new skills and trying new and interesting avenues within the healthcare sector. Constant improvementsin technology mean that there is always new equipment and new methods of treatment to learn about, resulting in improved patient outcomes. It’s an exciting profession to be in at this stage of modern medicine and innovation.
How do nurses make a difference in their community?
Sometimes people go into nursing with community service as a personal goal, but very often community work is a by-product of nurses’ involvement with individual patients and a realization of the need for additional services other than medical.
Nurse practitioners (NPs) are registered nurses who have decided to take their expertise further and have studied for a master’s degree in nursing. This enables them to practice autonomously in many states or to work in practice with primary care physicians. AsNPs are qualified in advanced nursing practice, they fill in the gaps where there are no primary care doctors available or where the doctors are just too busy to help everyone in need. In this way, NPs play an important role in communities, get to meet the people and build relationships.
The current shortage of medical professionals means that many communities are neglected when it comes to healthcare. This is due to various factors, such as a shortage of primary care and specialized physicians, financial restraintsandthe challenges of providing healthcare services in difficult-to-reach rural areas. People living in poorer communities are less likely to have health insurance, and access to public healthcare is difficult from a financial and transportation point of view.
In addition to their normal day-to-day primary care nursing responsibilities, NPs can get involved in their community in various ways. They are trained to observe and identify problem areas and then take the initiative to act upon their observations.
First and foremost is medical care. In most states, NPs are qualified to set up clinics and,if necessary, advocate for funds and medical supplies. Day clinics provide services such as vaccinations, baby care, family planning assistance and even assistance with substance abuse. They also assist with screening for chronic ailments such as asthma and diabetes and testing for diseases such as tuberculosis. In rural areas, the NP may invite specialists out once a month to assist with dentistry, eye care, occupational therapy, social work, mental health, and other areas.
It has been proven that social isolation results in poor health outcomes and poor mental health. The establishment of a community center,and enlisting members of the community to work together towards a common goal fosters a sense of belonging and reduces feelings of social isolation. Once a healthcare clinic has been established, the nurse practitioner can take it one step further and make a large room available for training, work parties, social functions and game nights. Enlisting the help of community members to do the building, furnishingand maintenance work on the facilityensures their support and participation in events, thereby strengthening their social connections and wellbeing and improving the community’s health status.
An important part of community work is education. Particularly in impoverished areas, people need to be taught about healthy eating habits and the importance of cleanliness in preventing the spread of disease. Teachingpeoplethe value of eating healthy vegetables and fruitand helping them grow their own goes a long way towards maintaining a healthy community.
Nurse practitioners also identify other needs within communities, such as a lack of supervision after school. They can establish an after-school center and encourage members of the community to supervise homework and outdoor activities on a voluntary basis. In impoverished areas, a balanced meal at lunchtime will help ensure the crucial development of young bodies and minds. In addition, the establishment of a library will encourage children to read, and perhapsvolunteers can teach illiterate adults as well.
The family nurse practitioner probably does not have the time for all of this; however, by involving the community in these projects,most of the work can be handed over to responsible volunteers, and the natural outcome would be that the people take ownership of their projects and have pride in what they are doing.
Obviously, allthe above requires input in the form of funds and donations. The nurse practitioner can apply for state assistance, and failing that, there are non-profit organizations (NPOs) that lend assistance in a wide range of disciplines. If the NP has identified a lack of training for young people leaving school, an NPO can be involved in setting up a training school, thereby empowering the youth in the community to find employment and support themselves.
If you are still asking yourself: “Why nursing?”, then take a look at what various graduates have experienced in their careers as nurses. Need we say more? Nursing is heartwarming, rewarding, dynamic and interesting. Aspiring nurses can study online by enrolling in a Master of Science in Nursing – Family Nurse Practitioner program offered by a reputable institution such as Carson-Newman Online. Programs such as this one allow you to continue working and advance your career at the same time.
Becoming a nurse practitioner empowers nurses in all fields to get more involved and make a difference in their communities, whether that field isgerontology, neonatal or family nursing. It’s what you make of it.To gainthe full benefits of serving people and communities, your interest and active involvement in their wellbeing is key to success.