Public health nursing is fundamental to the healthcare system because it ensures the prevention of various diseases. Eventually, it guarantees the reduced patient population in hospitals and the improved quality of care. The Health Care Reform is also a crucial aspect of the healthcare system because it focuses on improving the health of various populations. According to the NYS Department of Financial Services (2012), it aims to ensure that people access quality health care services despite the differences in their income. This commitment is similar to the principles of community health nursing that require equality in health services provision. This similarity indicates that public health nurses play a crucial role in facilitating the Health Care Reform. This paper looks at five functions that these professionals perform that can guarantee effective health care.
According to Lundy and Janes (2009), public health nurses initiated the Health Care Reform in the late 1800s and early 1900s (p. 1022). They sought to improve the health status of people by delivering various preventive services, such as vaccination and health education. Such interventions had proved efficient by then. Currently, one of the functions of community health nurses is to ensure the prevention of illnesses, particularly infectious diseases among communities (Lundy & James, 2009). The NYS Department of Financial Services (2012) ascertains that one of the goals of the Health Care Reform is to encourage the delivery of primary and preventive services. The alignment of these two functions makes public health nursing a crucial component of transformations in the healthcare system. Thus, their role is to deliver adequate preventive services to all people.
Lundy and James (2009) inform that linking people to needed health services is an essential component of public health nursing. In implementing this strategy, nurses enlighten the public on the rising cost of healthcare and the need to have insurance. Moreover, they usually sensitize the public about the significance of cover in preventive care and its contribution to reducing expenses associated with seeking medical care for advanced diseases. The NYS Department of Financial Services (2012) ascertains that encouraging employers to offer health insurance is an essential component of the Health Care Reform. Accordingly, apart from educating patients in hospitals and communities, public health nurses should extend their services to workplaces to reach employers. Sommers et al. (2014) argue that the sensitization of various people about health insurance coverage has increased the number of individuals with it, which is necessary for providing adequate and timely care.
Another function of public health nurses is to ensure that people receive quality and accessible health services (Lundy & James, 2009). This commitment is necessary because marginalized populations, such as those with low financial income and minority racial groups, have been found to have difficulties in accessing health care (Browne et al., 2012). The Health Care Reform recognizes this fundamental aspect and is concerned about increasing the accessibility of care to people (McCormick, Sayah, Lokko, Woolhandler, & Nardin, 2012). Thus, public health nurses play a significant role by delivering health services to people in communities and referring them appropriately to available specialists for further care.
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Innovation in nursing practice is important because it can help nurses come up with solutions to health issues. Lundy and James (2009) ascertain that such professionals are committed to continuous research on various health problems with the aim of managing them at a low cost. The Health Care Reform has also the goal of reducing the cost of health services (The NYS Department of Financial Services, 2012). The role of nurses in implementing this objective is researching and advocating for policies that require people, particularly senior citizens, to access health services at a reduced cost.
Public health nurses are also involved in direct patient care in primary care facilities by managing various minor ailments before they develop into dangerous diseases with complications. Through this action, they reduce the number of patients seeking care in hospitals. Consequently, they enhance efficient service delivery in the latter, reducing medication errors, decreasing nursing burnout syndrome and preventing other challenges that are associated with nursing shortages in hospitals. The Health Care Reform also aims to encourage health workers to deliver more appropriate health services to citizens (The NYS Department of Financial Services, 2012). Indeed, public health nurses’ task is facilitating this aim.
Another objective of public health nurses is to reduce health problems by informing, educating, and empowering people about issues related to health (Lundy & James, 2009). Additionally, they diagnose the community by looking at health hazards and monitor the health status of the population. Their role is to implement these goals to ensure improved patient care and to solve nursing shortages in hospitals. These objectives align with the goals of the Health Care Reform and improved health care services (Sommers et al., 2014).
Public health nurses ensure the prevention of ailments, which can progress to advanced diseases and require more resources for care. They provide health education to communities, diagnose their diseases, and monitor people to see if they have problems that require a referral. If they notice an ailment, public health nurses often refer those patients to appropriate healthcare facilities. These activities are essential for the Health Care Reform, which is also committed to ensuring that people access improved and affordable health care services. Most importantly, it aims to provide most people with health insurance coverage to access health services quickly. As the role of public health nurses, sensitization is effective in increasing such numbers. Consequently, these specialists are indispensable to ensuring the success of the Health Care Reform.
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