The Role of the Community Health Nurse

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The Role of the Community Health Nurse

The role of community health nurses are varied, and include addressing the needs of public health by preventing and controlling infectious diseases, injury as well as the prevention of disability. These health professionals are extremely important because they demonstrate so much flexibility and openness to provide a variety of services in medical settings, houses of worship, homeless shelters, and academic settings. They also extend a comprehensive array of services to patients within their homes, at formal events including health fairs, and in settings serving people who have particular health needs (Meadows, 2009.) This paper will cover the role of the community health nurse in the planning, implementation, and assessment of healthcare services.The Role of the Community Health Nurse

In modern times, community health nurses are employed in diverse settings that include nursing centers, home health agencies, housing developments, local and state health departments, neighborhood centers, parishes, and worksites (Kulbok, 2012.) The care that they provide is often concentrated on the higher risk and vulnerable groups of people that typically involve frail elderly, the homeless, people who smoke or use drugs or alcohol, teenage parents, and people who are at risk for certain illnesses. The practice model for community health nurses was created initially to respond to the prevention of youth substance abuse in a world tobacco-growing county located in Virginia. This model involved participation by community members as well as well regarding community leaders in various aspects of community health and well-being identifying problems, evaluating projects, and dissemination of information (Kulbok, 2012.) The method was grounded in philosophies involved in social action theory, a community-based model utilized to increase the ability for problem-solving by entire communities by accomplishing tangible changes through social justice (Minkler, 2008.)


Public health nurses combined community involvement and knowledge about the whole population with personal, clinical understandings of the health and illness experiences of individuals and families within that community (The Role of Public Health Nurses, 2013.) They provide translation followed by articulation of both health and illness situations of a varied group of at risk individuals as well as families, and communicate this information to health planners as well as policymakers. The Role of the Community Health Nurse In addition, they help people in the community to express their struggles as well as their hopes for brighter futures. These healthcare providers have a sound knowledge base about a variety of strategies for intervention by using targeted strategies, programs, and advocacy. Community health nurses may offer these services individually or through collaborative work by other public health nurses. Either way, the function of public health nurses includes being directly involved in the basic public health goals of assessment, assurance, and development of policy (The Role of Public Health Nurses, 2013.)

There are many activities provided by community health nurses; one of the most important roles is to provide important input to multidisciplinary programs that are involved in monitoring, anticipating, and responding to public health issues in different groups of the population in spite of whichever illness or public health threat has been identified. In addition, community health nurses must evaluate health trends as well as risk factors of different groups of populations, and must assist in setting priorities for targeted actions. Finally, they must collaborate with individuals, groups, and communities to establish public policy priorities as well as strategies for disease prevention. Nurses in these roles must also become involved in assessing available healthcare services to make sure that people are educated about the available programs and services, and that they receive the help that they need to utilize those services.

There are specific competencies that must be developed and refined by community health nurses. An important area of skills is the ability to provide analytic assessment in order to pursue the promotion and prevention of health while collaborating with communities that are struggling with complicated challenges (Kulbok, 2012.) These skills can be improved through interactions with members of the community as well as using communication skills to gather significant insight regarding the needs and assets of each community served. Another essential component of public health nursing involves culturally competent practice and skills. Cultural competence is invaluable in helping community health nurses to comprehend unseen factors in a community that support health as well as preventing illness, including values, assets, and specific traits of different populations within a community. Cultural competence skills for public health nurses can be enhanced by becoming involved in participatory methods with a variety of ethnic and racial communities as well as becoming involved with groups that have different socioeconomic status.The Role of the Community Health Nurse

Program planning skills are also essential for community health nurses in order to maximize the promotion of public health and disease prevention. The nurses in these fields may become involved in planning evidence-based programs by employing in-depth analytic evaluation abilities, and may also be able to implement programs more successfully by using collaborative partnerships. Community health nurses can establish sustainable programs as well develop a community’s involvement in the promotion of health strategies by considering the ecological context of that community from an ethnographic evaluation (Kulbok, 2012.)

Community health nurses address the needs of their clients who may be individuals, families, or the population of a community. They strive to accomplish the greatest good for the largest number of people, and prioritize their work as the promotion and protection of health. In order to do so, they implement strategies that are conducive to establishing healthy conditions for the population, by using all available resources and collaborating with other healthcare providers and organizations. They are also extremely critical to the emergency preparedness planning process, in which they are key players in any emergency response. Within the nursing profession, the skills necessary to perform the functions of a community health nurse are numerous, far-reaching, and invaluable.The Role of the Community Health Nurse

Kulbok, P.A., Thatcher, E., Park, E., Meszaros, P.S.(2012, May 31). Evolving Public Health Nursing Roles: Focus on Community Participatory Health Promotion and Prevention. Retrieved from Online Journal of Issues in Nursing:
Meadows, P. (2009, January). Community Health Nursing. Retrieved from American Journal of Nursing:
Minkler, M., Wallerstein, N., Wilson, N. (2008). Improving Health through Community Organization and Community Building. In K. Glanz, Health Behavior and Health Education: Theory, Research, and Practice (pp. 291-298). San Francisco: John Wiley & Sons.
The Role of Public Health Nurses. (2013). Retrieved from American Public Health Association: The Role of the Community Health Nurse