Historically, healthcare in the United States was – and largely still is – based on a reactive model. When people get sick or injured, they visit a doctor who prescribes medication and offers treatments so they can get better.
However, in the middle of the 18th century, as large groups of immigrants started to arrive from Europe, this thinking began to change. Instead of waiting for people to get sick and then react, it shifted to a proactive approach. Social scientists, charity groups, and social work volunteers realized that it was cheaper and healthier to prevent illness by taking basic steps in homes and communities rather than waiting until populations were ill to administer treatment.
They sought to find the causes of diseases and tackle them at their root instead of trying to contain contagions after they started. These were the beginnings of community health nursing.
Nearly two centuries later, a group of scholars conducted studies that determined that having insufficient education, belonging to a marginalized community, and being poor were the leading causes of health problems within communities.
By tackling these issues, societies could boost community health, allowing people to live longer with less medical care. They were also able to determine that it was a cheaper approach for all parties involved. One way of achieving this is through community nursing programs.
What Is Community Nursing?
Community nursing is the combination of nursing practice and primary healthcare within communities. A community health nurse provides interventions, preventive care, and health education within communities to keep people healthy.
There are many ways to become a community health nurse. Some people start as social workers and then transition to nursing, and the two qualifications enable them to serve as community nurses. Others study nursing and then enroll in a social work course to develop the requisite skills.
Enrolling in an online accelerated nursing program is a faster way to become a community health nurse. It covers topics such as transitional care in primary and population health, complex transitional care nursing, and transition to professional nursing practice. The course takes about one and a half years to complete, and if you enroll in an accredited institution, you will get clinical practice so you can experience clinical nursing in the real world.
Community health workers can work in many different settings. They are often employed by schools, rehabilitation centers, correctional facilities and public hospitals. If you would like to step outside your community, you can work as a government advisor or even get a job with international aid organizations like the Red Cross and Doctors Without Borders.
What Are The Benefits Of Community Health Nursing?
- It promotes healthier lifestyles within communities. One of the primary roles of a community nurse is to help people understand what they should and should not be doing if they would like to live healthier lives.
- It is one of the most efficient ways to prevent disease. A good example is when a community nurse visits a home or a school and identifies a contagious disease like measles. They are tasked with educating the community on the value of quarantining the sick and the measures they should take to keep their children from getting infected.
- Nurses provide direct care, especially to the chronically ill and the elderly. Instead of burdening the health system by admitting all ill and elderly individuals into hospitals, a community nurse visits them and provides care wherever they are located.
- One of the biggest benefits of community nursing is educating people on how to make better healthcare choices and live healthier lives.
- Community nursing introduces wellness projects where they are needed. A good example of this is an exercise gym for the elderly or classes for expectant moms.
- Community nurses also conduct research to find gaps in community healthcare. The information they collect helps the government allocate resources where needed.
Read Also: What Qualities Must You Have if You Want to Be a Nurse?
How Can You Enroll In A Community Nursing Program?
Enrolling in an online accelerated nursing program at an accredited university, like the one offered by the University of Indianapolis, is the quickest way to become a community nurse. An online program is flexible, so you can work and study simultaneously.
If you are a working professional, make sure to check the demands of the course before you enroll. You don’t want to drop out before you qualify because you didn’t have enough time to cover the course material.
Community health is a vital part of modern society. Its proactive approach allows for healthier living and lower healthcare bills. You can become a community nurse by enrolling in an online program, but choose carefully to avoid wasting time and money in an institution that isn’t accredited.