When it comes to community education and health care, nurses are essential. They provide important services, but they also provide a lot of ongoing support and education. Those are all important aspects of what they do, and can significantly alter and affect a community based on how they are handled. There are three roles that nurses play in a community when it comes to the prevention of health care problems: primary, secondary, and tertiary. Those will be discussed here, along with an interview conducted with Sarah Winters, a nurse who has been working in community education for 35 years. By combining the educational information of various sources with the personal information that can only be provided by interviewing a person in the field, a better understanding of the role and value of the community health nurse can be seen. That provides insight to communities who are exploring nursing and who are determining whether they wish to have nurses on hand in order to help the members of their community lead stronger, healthier lives.
The nurse's role in primary prevention in the community is based on actual health care (D'Antonio, 2010). Screenings can be done for a number of potential health conditions, and that can help the nurse educate patients on issues they may have or problems that they may be developing. When a nurse does that, he or she is providing a great service to the community. According to the interview conducted with Winters (2014), it is essential that a community has a nurse or multiple nurses who can provide this level of primary prevention. Testing for blood pressure, cholesterol, and other concerns can do done quite easily through community health fairs, free and low-cost clinics, and other options (Longe, 2013). When that takes place, Winters sees a benefit to the people who come to those events or places. She knows that they are getting health care that they need, and that serious issues may be prevented because of that care.
Catching high blood pressure or high cholesterol before they damage the body or cause a medical event is very important. The same is true with high blood sugar and other issues. While there are still many medical problems that might not be caught by a community health nurse, problems like high blood pressure, high blood sugar, and high cholesterol go a long way toward causing a number of health problems (Fairman & Lynaugh, 2000). Since these issues can be controlled -- or even reversed in some cases -- it is vital that they be detected as soon as possible. That can give the person who has them the best chance to get better, and can allow that person to go on and live a much better and healthier life. Nurses are fundamental in the discovery of these kinds of issues in the community, as people come to them to be tested for all sorts of issues and anomalies they may have, so they can get better treatment.
Winters (2014) believes that nurses also provide secondary prevention to a community in the form of education. These nurses are able to help members of the community understand the need for these medical tests, and can also help them to determine the value of getting treatment if the test results come back outside of normal limits. Education must involve not only why the person should be tested, but what the nurse is looking for and why the person will want treatment if the test is not normal (Longe, 2013). Pamphlets that are easy to read and that explain the issues in simple terms are a good way to provide information to a community. Flyers also work well, as do community events where nurses give talks and hand out small gifts or bags with information and items in them. Even something as simple as a refrigerator magnet can be a reminder for a person who needs a medical test.
Since there are so many ways a nurse can provide community health assistance, it is unfortunate that a number of them do not. However, that often comes from the overworked nature of many nurses in the profession.…