The main characteristics of a population-based Public Health Nursing practice are:
A focus based on entire populations possessing similar health concerns or characteristics
Based on an assessment of community need
Addresses the broad determinants of health
Considers multiple levels of intervention
Considers multiple levels of prevention with preference for primary prevention
What is Public Health Nursing?
While most nurses care for one patient at a time, Public Health Nurses care for entire populations. By working with whole communities, Public Health Nurses are able to educate people about health issues, improve community health and safety and increase access to care.
Public Health Nurses ensure that the public is protected against communicable diseases, Tuberculosis (TB), and vaccine preventable diseases. They work first hand with local healthcare providers, hospitals, schools and daycares/preschools in the event of a communicable disease being reported. They ensure the safety to those exposed by getting them the information needed to control further spread, whether that be getting the appropriate medication, vaccine needed or guidance to the local providers on how to treat the specific communicable disease. (Examples H1N1 vaccine clinics, Flood of 2011 providing vaccines Tdap, Hep A/B vaccines to City workers, Pertussis Outbreaks, current National Measles outbreak, Active Tuberculosis clients with daily medication observations in home.)
Public Health Nurses are the general information contact to the local healthcare providers, Hospitals Infection Control, and schools regarding the Iowa Department of Public Health guidelines, protocols, disease prevention and spread, set up at the State level for all counties to follow.