It has been said that: "Health care is vital to all of us some of the time, but public health is vital to all of us all of the time." My understanding of public health / community health nowadays is the science and practice of protecting and improving the health of a community, as by preventive medicine, health education, control of communicable diseases, application of sanitary measures, and monitoring of environmental hazards. After much research, the mission of public health is to "fulfill society's interest in assuring conditions in which people can be healthy." Public health is comprised of many professional disciplines such as medicine, dentistry, nursing, optometry, nutrition, social work, environmental sciences, health education, health services administration, and the behavioral sciences. Its activities focus on entire populations rather than on individual patients as in the clinical setting. Public health professionals monitor and diagnose the health concerns of entire communities and promote healthy practices and behaviors to assure our populations stay healthy.
The three core public health functions are:
ÃÂ· The assessment and monitoring of the health of communities and populations at risk to identify health problems and priorities.
ÃÂ· The formulation of public policies designed to solve identified local and national health problems and priorities.
ÃÂ· To assure that all populations have access to appropriate and cost-effective care, including health promotion and disease prevention services, and evaluation of the effectiveness of that care.
As I began my career as a critical care nurse, the role of a public health nurse had faded from my practice. Many roles were identified and lost in the process. I had many questions like, "Is there a difference in my scope of practice from a public health nurse? Are the effects of a public health nurse always generalized such that there is little...