In the U.S., nurse practitioners (NPs) have a critical role in providing primary care services, particularly in underserved communities. NPs are highly skilled and educated health care professionals who can offer a wide range of services. Including carrying out physical exams, ordering and interpreting diagnostic tests, prescribing medications, and providing patient education.
NPs often play a vital role in improving access to care in underserved communities. They may be the only healthcare providers in these communities, or they may be able to provide services that are not available at other healthcare facilities. In addition, NPs often understand their cultural and linguistic needs and can provide culturally competent care.
When you visit a hospital, you will see nursing staff taking care of patients. Most people think that nurses don’t know much, but they have all the basic knowledge of the human body and diseases. Many hospitals allow nurses to treat patients independently without a doctor’s supervision.
Nurses are essential for the structural integrity of a hospital. They have long duty hours extending up to 12-14 hours per day. In addition to this, nurses have to complete on-call hours.
Nurses can enhance their skills and knowledge through various courses and degrees. For instance, the online post masters DNP programs (Doctor of Nursing Practice) can help polish their skills and gain confidence and grip on the subject. However, you need at least a master’s or higher degree to become a nurse practitioner. It equips you with more training and experience than registered nurses.
Nurses often work extra hours to help the less fortunate members of our society. Here are some of the ways nurses can uplift community services.
- Role of Nurses in Health Planning:
“Health For All” is an initiative by the World Health Organization to bring health to every individual in the community. Efficient health planning requires community assessment which is essential for achieving health goals.
Nurse practitioners, being the trusted members of the community, can provide information for community assessment by identifying problems in underserved areas of society. They closely monitor the condition of the community, and after thorough analysis, they can highlight the pressing needs of the community. It helps the smooth running of the “Health Planning Cycle.”
- Primary Healthcare Provider:
In some parts of the community, nurse practitioners are the primary healthcare providers. These areas may lack a basic health unit or rural health center, or some individuals may be reluctant to talk to a physician. It may be due to a difference in ethnicity or culture.
Nurse practitioners know the local languages and cultures. They can help patients from underserved communities in a way acceptable to them.
- Charitable Work by Nurses:
Nurses usually understate their dedication toward the betterment of society. They may be working leaps and bounds and still not consider it enough. Sometimes, they help the community by going out of the way.
Nurses participate in charitable projects like building temporary homes for the needy and providing medicines free of cost by arranging medical camps in neglected areas of the state.
- Participation in MCHC in Unattended Areas:
MCHC, or mother and child health care, is an essential aspect of the health system. The high maternal, neonatal, or infant mortality rates in some parts of the community may be due to the expensive healthcare system or lack of basic facilities.
Nurses in many parts of the world volunteer for pre and postnatal care projects, pay home visits, and advise mothers regarding maternal and child health.
- Role in Family Planning:
The underprivileged areas often have problems related to family planning. Families with conservative mindsets or backgrounds may not follow doctors’ advice on family planning. They need someone who explains it to them with a different approach. Nurse practitioners can provide helpful information about FP to families in easy and uncomplicated terms. And because people trust them, they follow their advice.
- Role in Immunization Programs:
Immunization is necessary to prevent certain diseases. Childhood immunization can reduce morbidity and mortality rates. Many families don’t believe in the concept of immunization.
Nurses actively participate in campaigns promoting the beneficial effects of immunization. They often have maps and complete records of underprivileged areas or the areas where the anti-immunization school of thought is present. They also pay home visits to gain trust and explain immunization safety and importance to the families.
- Defending Low-Cost Treatment:
The current healthcare delivery system is expensive, and without having an insurance policy, it restricts people from getting proper care in times of need.
One of the ethics of nursing practice is advocacy. Nurse Practitioners often advocate for cost-effective treatment and healthcare delivery to the community.
NPs need to have a good relationship with legislative authorities. It helps them bring the community’s needs and demands to those who can make a more significant change.
The Affordable Care Act (ACA) was passed during Obama’s administration. AANP says that nurse practitioners provide information to the patient regarding the services offered under ACA.
The nurse practitioners also provide facts, data, and concise reports to the legislative and political offices to inform them about healthcare needs.
- Role of Nurses in the Educational System:
The school health team consists of a medical doctor, a public health nurse, and attendants. There is a lack of nurses in primary and secondary schools in some parts of the U.S. A single nurse is appointed to provide health services to students in many different schools. It compromises the health of students.
Nurse practitioners often provide health education to the general public. They also discuss possible solutions with the educational sector to improve the condition. It is a preventive measure to reduce the disease burden in the community, which requires the active participation of healthcare providers. It is more likely that the individuals listen to someone who knows their culture and beliefs.
The nurses are front-line workers in almost every emergency or pandemic. There are many options to choose from after becoming a registered nurse. The degrees and certifications in the nursing field have allowed nurses more autonomy. Nurse Practitioners are among the highest-ranking individual in the profession. NPs can voice the needs of the community and advocate for change. They can also provide education to the public regarding diseases.