Community Nurses

With a rapidly aging population and a concerted shift from hospital care to community healthcare, there is a growing need for more community nurses.

A close look at the recently passed Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act – more commonly known as ObamaCare – reveals that it is less about acute care than community care.

The Federal government is investing $11 billion into community health care centers and the number of patients using these centers is expected to double in the next decade.

This is why the role of public and community healthcare nurses is coming so important. Community nurses comprise the largest group of workers at these community healthcare centers so the need for primary care nurses at all educational levels will increase substantially in the coming years.

Community Nurses Form Close Bonds With Their Patients

Community nurses take care of the health needs of local people and they are part of public health nurses. Most district nurses provide direct nursing care in their locale, administer medications, provide comfort and support and also take care of any paperwork.

District nurses are also responsible for keeping a close eye on communicable diseases in their area. One of the duties of a district nurse is to develop programs that provides the local community with information of different diseases. Community nurses today have greater autonomy to provide nursing care services in different health centers, homes and even schools.

Community health nursing is a community-oriented approach aimed at taking care of acutely ill patients while also promoting healthy lifestyles among other local residents. It is up to community nurses to instigate public healthcare programs and educate the public and people in the community about diseases and illnesses that can affect them. An increasing aging population with multiple chronic illnesses is also going to be added to that workload in the next 10 years.

Community Nurses Instigate Local healthcare Programs

Community healthcare places a lot of emphasis on promoting preventive medical care and access to good care for people where they live and work. These days patients are being discharged from hospitals earlier so the need for ongoing care at home has increased. Most people who are home-bound under a physician’s treatment and have an unstable acute or chronic illness require specialized community nursing care. This provides community nurses with the opportunity to learn and develop good partnership skills.

All district and community nurses are registered nurses (RN). This means that they have completed an approved nursing program. This is usually a two-year Associate of Science in Nursing degree (ASN) or a four-years Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree (BSN).

These nursing courses include health, physical science and behavioral science. And you will also undertake clinical work under the experienced eye of a trained RN in a public hospital or community health center.

Many community healthcare centers and aged-care facilities are now working closely with nursing schools to provide the specialized clinical practice community nursing students need. The Federal government has allocated funds for 10 new nurse-run health centers to help train nursing students for their role in community care.

Once you have completed your nursing studies you are required to sit and pass the the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX)  before you can begin work as a Registered Nurse (RN). To specialize in public or community health nursing, you can also complete an advanced degree program or a specialty certification program.

In the past, graduate nurses worked for at least 12-24 months in acute care before shifting into community care. But the growing demand for district nurses means that many new graduates are shifting straight into community healthcare to provide ambulatory care, home health services and local public health support.

Community nurses need strong thinking and communication skills. As they are providing healthcare direct to patients in the community, they have to engage with local people, understand thoroughly how the healthcare system works and get to understand their predominately elderly patients.

Once these new district nurses start working side-by-side with experienced nurses, home health agencies and other long-term care services they quickly grow to understand the special needs of both aging patients and the community in general.

District healthcare nurses provide an very essential role in towns and communities right across America. There has been a concerted shift by the Federal government to provide essential and ongoing medical care to where people work and live in cities and towns across the country.

Community healthcare centers are the focus of this shift in healthcare. As America’s population continues to age with Baby Boomers moving into retirement, the demand for age care is going to continue to grow over the next 20 years.

It’s a simple math problem. More and more elderly people requiring healthcare close to where they live requires more community nurses to provide it. With the shift to localized community healthcare and the availability of greater Federal funding to support this move, the role of community nurses has moved into the spotlight across the country.