Community nursing is very challenging because different communities have different cultures and beliefs that make a particular community exceptional. For instance, a university is a community because it consists of different groups of people with a common objective which is the acquisition of knowledge and skills (Abbot, 2009). Owing to this uniqueness, the roles of the community nurse require a definition so that the community nurse knows her scoop of work. Therefore, community-nursing roles include developing the community, promoting health, promoting the cultural safety, clinical, advocacy, promoting equity, health education, and ensuring that the community access health resources (Shubert, Hitchhock, & Sue, 2009).
Clinical role of community nursing
During the clinical placement, the community-nursing role that I encountered was the clinical role. This role ensured that the university community received nursing services according to the policies, standards, procedures and clinical programs (Winsome & Keleher, 2008). This role is community nursing because the services delivered affected the university students directly or indirectly (Saucier & Sharyn, 2007). For instance, I was involved in the provision of a number of services that fall under the clinical role and they include attending at emergencies, provision of first aid, caring of patients in the sickbay, ensuring supplies were enough, and checking the functioning state of all the equipment. The above-mentioned tasks aimed at ensuring that the university community was at the wellness side of the illness and wellness continuum (Winsome & Keleher, 2008).
The clinical role works in the university community in a number of ways. For instance, the provision of first aid and caring for patients involves the students directly because the sick students received care. In addition to this, attending to emergencies involves the students because it is at this time that the School nurse works collaboratively with the university students to ensure that disasters do not happen again (Watkins & Gastrell, 2009). This involves the school nurse teaching the students how to prepare for a disaster and what to do in case of an emergency (McMurray & Clendon, 2010). On the other hand, ensuring that supplies are enough and all the equipment is in a good functioning state affects the university community indirectly (Baker, 2007 ) because if the supplies are enough and the equipment is functioning well, the students will receive quality care.
The nurse as an advocate for social justice
Advocacy is a community-nursing role that entails pleading in favor of a policy, idea or cause on behalf of the community with the aim of developing it to act on its own (Sines, Saunders,& Forbes, 2009). Moreover, advocacy for social justice encompasses actions that help in the balancing of benefits related to health and burdens for all the community members and it operates under the principle of fairness, respect and equity (Brunner & Smeltzer, 2009). The nurse performs several tasks in order to achieve this role. First, the nurse analyses policies to ensure that integrity dominates the patients’ treatment (Brunner & Smeltzer, 2009). Secondly, the nurse incorporates the community as a focus of care and move away from individual care and finally the nurse advocates for the elimination of disparities in health and quality of life to be increased (Brunner & Smeltzer, 2009). During the placement, advocacy for social justice was apparent because the provision of services was at no cost and this ensured elimination of disparities in health and that all the university students received quality care.
The role of preservation of cultural safety
Preservation of cultural safety is a role that a nurse performs by encouraging the community members to follow those cultural practices that are safe while abandoning the unsafe practices (Sines, Saunders, & Forbes, 2009). Safe practices are those cultural values and beliefs that meet the needs of the community while unsafe practices are those that diminish the community well being (Hinkelle, 2010). The nurse performs numerous tasks to achieve this role. To begin with, the nurse researches on the importance of enhancing cultural practices in relation to health, secondly, the nurse explores the community to know the cultural beliefs and taboos that they hold and finally, the nurse educates the community on what values they should hold and which one they should abandon ( Hinkelle, 2010 ). In the clinical placement, the school nurse achieved this role through health promotion. The university students received information on the best practices that they should hold. For instance, the teaching was about the importance of eating a balanced diet and not junk food because a balanced diet is essential for proper growth and development.
The role of promoting equity
Equity promotion is a role that entails a variety of tasks both in the health care facility and at the community residence (Cmai, 2007). To add to this, it ensures that every member of the community receives the same services regardless of sex, status in the community, race, or age (Torrisi & Hansen, 2008). Therefore, the task of the nurse involves providing care to all patients without any discrimination (Torrisi & Hansen, 2008) and the care includes caring for the sick, attending to emergencies, referring patients for further management and educating the community (Walsh & Hartley, 2007). During the placement, all the patients received equal attendance. For example, the referral of a patient for further management was due to the criticality of the condition and not the sex, age, or the course that the student studies at the university. Moreover, during an emergency, provision of care was according to the patient’s condition and it was not whether the student was a university leader or not. This means that the patient with a life-threatening condition received the first priority.
Ensuring access to health resources
Ensuring that everyone access health resources is a role that usually portrays a challenge to many community nurses (Karly & Claudio, 2009). The nurse’s task is to ensure that the hospital has all the supplies and materials needed for health care providers so that any person who comes to the health facility receives quality care (Torrisi & Hansen, 2008). Furthermore, the nurse is responsible for patients’ referral for further management (Cmai, 2007). In the placement, the school nurse was responsible for stock supplies and equipment checks and this facilitated the provision of standard care to all the university students. To add to this, referral of the patient to another health facility ensured that the patient accessed the appropriate care.
Ethical issues in the nursing profession
Confidentiality is a legal issue that has an impact in the nursing profession and it ensures that nurses cannot disclose information about the health of a patient or client to any other person (Scutchfield, 2007). The nurse has an obligation of maintaining the confidentiality of whatever information obtained in the context of a relationship that is professional (Abbot, 2009). Besides, the nurse should not disclose the information about the client to any person without the clients consent unless the life of the client is in immediate danger if the nurse retains the information (Walsh & Hartley, 2007). During the placement, the provision of service was in a strict confidential manner because no other person received the patient’s information apart from those who were involved in the care of the patient. For instance, during the referral of a patient to another health care facility, the disclosure of patient information to the other health care professionals facilitated continuity of care.
In conclusion, definition of the role of the community nursing is of great importance because it does not only state what the nurse should do at the community level but also the community participation as they receive care (Torrisi & Hansen, 2008). Therefore, the community nurses need to be familiar with these roles so that provision of high quality services becomes a routine. On the other hand, the community is required to know their expectation so that they work collaboratively with the nurse as they receive the care.
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