Nurses play a critical role in the delivery of public healthcare, engaging in projects ranging from community education to policy advocacy. One of the most important concepts is identifying relevant health issues in the community and tailoring interventions to address them with consideration of disease epidemiology, population culture, and effectiveness of treatments. This reflection will focus on preventive health delivery models through the lens of public health programs and evaluate personal academic competence in this context.
Healthcare delivery depends on a variety of systematic factors such as policy, funding, and social attitudes. Models are developed with the inherent consideration that their elements will address the dimension of public health care that requires attention such as access to services, disease management, regulation, or quality and continuum of care. A healthcare delivery model which I strongly support is preventive care. Clinical preventive services (CPS) such as screening, immunizations, health behavior education, and preventive medications are effective at reducing rates of morbidity and mortality. However, Americans commonly receive a few of these recommended interventions as CPS are rarely integrated into community care delivery systems (Krist et al., 2013).
The Affordable Care Act has significantly increased the budgetary flexibility and public health capacity to increase access to preventive services and improve population health activities (Chait & Glied, 2018). In Miami, the Florida Health Department offers a Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program for low-income or uninsured women over the age of 50. The initiative offers a wide variety of diagnostic tests including mammograms and pap smears (Florida Department of Health, 2015).
Another known prevention service in the region is YMCA’s Diabetes Prevention Program which is a lifestyle modification initiative based on national guidelines promoted by the CDC. The lifestyle program offers classroom sessions and monthly management with guidance from a coach on healthy eating and exercise (Miami-Dade Matters, n.d.).
The role of a nurse in public health is critical, combining education and medical expertise in the provision of competent care and disease prevention. Nurses are the frontlines of interaction and contact with the population and hold a certain level of respect and value amongst the population to drive forward welfare changes. One of the most vital responsibilities of nurses in this context is the integration of care of such programs from policy and objectives into competent, person-centered care. It must align health and social services to meet the needs of community populations and consider the unique challenges that they may face (Donovan & Warriner, 2017).
The programs outline above have been designed with specific populations in consideration, that face a high risk for the conditions. Interventions are evidence-based with their scope to identify and prevent or manage a disease, reducing morbidity and mortality in the long term.
Throughout my academic career, I have demonstrated many of the elements of health promotion. First, there were projects to identify relevant health issues in the community through observation and interviews with its members, highlighting particular trends in health behaviors and develop potential solutions. I have also researched a culturally competent approach to public health delivery by conducting interviews with families from different cultural diasporas.
By learning their health habits and beliefs, I am able to design approaches in the community to expand access to preventive services. Finally, academic work has required me to focus on developing community education initiatives, similar to the one offered by YMCA, that would provide long-lasting lifestyle changes to chronic disease management. All of my academic work had inherently practical implications, ranging from observations to interviews and actual contact with local healthcare organizations.
Healthcare delivery models are complex, with consideration of public needs, financing, and critical health objectives. Preventive services remain an efficient tool in healthcare delivery. Local programs are focused on providing preventive services to high-risk populations and lifestyle interventions. My academic projects have allowed me to consider the extent and challenges of public healthcare delivery that faces significant budgetary and policy constraint but can be tremendously effective for population welfare.
Chait, N., & Glied, S. (2018). Promoting prevention under the Affordable Care Act. Annual Review of Public Health, 39(1), 507-524. Web.
Donovan, H., & Warriner, J. (2017). Nurses’ role in public health and integration of health and social care. Primary Health Care, 27(8), 20-24. Web.
Florida Department of Health. (2015). Breast and cervical cancer early detection program. Web.
Krist, A. H., Shenson, D., Woolf, S. H., Bradley, C., Liaw, W. R., Rothemich, S. F.,… Anderson, L. A. (2013). Clinical and community delivery systems for preventive care. American Journal of Preventive Medicine, 45(4), 508-516. Web.
Miami-Dade Matters. (n.d.). YMCA’s diabetes prevention program. Web.
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