Nursing Roles and Global Health
Currently, global health faces numerous challenges, especially in developing countries. Thus, nurses are the key players in providing healthcare services and improving the health status of the population of their nations. Due to their knowledge, skills, and energy, they can improve the life of people. Nurses can advocate global health programs through the interaction of professional healthcare teams. In addition, they play an active role in nursing education that can be the foundation for the development of health policy. Therefore, in order to improve global health, nurses must advocate health programs and educate the world population.
Two Nursing Roles in Global Health
Nurses play a leading role in advocacy, shaping policies, and strengthening their influence in global healthcare. Thus, modern global environment encourages nurses to provide essential services to the public. Therefore, they are the ones who are well aware of their clients’ needs since they know what factors influence their health. In this respect, they can become active participants in policy development. Their knowledge, experience, and skills allow them to provide advice to policy makers regarding new programs. Although this sphere was traditionally characterized by slow advancement, nowadays, nurses have become active players in healthcare planning and policy formulation (Benton, 2012). Thus, the International Council of Nurses (ICN) and other effective organizations that influence change at the global level are the key players who influence various health policies.
Furthermore, nurses have a great influence on policymaking process since they are very close to their patients and familiar with all their needs and problems. Therefore, they have accessibility to required resources that can protect patients’ safety. In the recent decade, nurses’ participation in policymaking has increased, substituting their prior participation in policy implementation (Stanhope & Lancaster, 2015). Accordingly, nurses, who can make healthcare decisions, shape the global view of healthcare. Therefore, nurses contribute their knowledge, skills, and expertise to improve the quality of healthcare globally.
Another role of nurses in the global health community is that of education. Nurses, who have all licenses and credentials to practice in their field of expertise, can educate patients on how to avoid diseases, lead healthy lifestyles, have a good nutrition, and so on. As a rule, clients do not have relevant professional skills and they rely on nurses to protect their health. Moreover, in developing countries, people often have very scarce knowledge in hygiene, first aid, and other areas, essential to their health. Therefore, nurses educate these people, providing training and seminars to them. Their activity is directed at the promotion, protection, and preservation of the public’s health. In addition, the US nurses understand the importance of educating people in underdeveloped countries concerning different diseases because their lack of knowledge might affect their own health. For example, such a health threat as the Ebola virus became an epidemic that spread all over the globe, including the USA (Stanhope & Lancaster, 2015). Therefore, improving global health can contribute to the wellbeing of American citizens in particular.
Ultimately, nursing education is often a necessary tool for uneducated people in poor countries. Moreover, it is also the most valuable commodity that can eliminate poverty in these countries. Therefore, nursing education gives better opportunities in life to people in many African countries as many of them have no access to healthcare. In this context, the US government issues offers educational programs and initiatives, such as Global Health Initiative, that focus on improving the health of children and women (Allender, Rector & Warner, 2013). Moreover, nursing organizations contribute their efforts to enlightening the world community on how to prevent, respond, and treat numerous infectious diseases.
ICN is based on interdisciplinary teams that work to develop health programs at the global level. Policy makers and all healthcare stakeholders work in cooperation in order to cover different aspects such as professional practice, socio-economic welfare, and regulation (Benton, 2012). Admittedly, solidarity within the healthcare profession is the most important factor in developing health policies. Moreover, well-organized nursing associations help nurses achieve their goals. One of the main factors that influences the policy development is the unity within nursing profession regardless of national borders (Upvall & Leffers, 2014). Thus, this factor brings perspectives to the debate, maintains the position of the public, and determines specific goals. Furthermore, interdisciplinary teams are able to amplify a change in the world healthcare community. In addition, nurse leaders play an active role in policy making in nursing, developing the directions and empowering other stakeholders who can offer new ideas and proposals.
Implementing interdisciplinary teams provides clients with a timely access to a range of health programs and education. Their work is based on the interaction of different healthcare providers, from community health workers to nurses and physicians, in a structured and efficient manner. The constitution of these teams will be partially determined by the constellation and the roles of nurses in each country under the direction of the Ministry of Health (Breakey, Corless, Meedzan, & Nicholas, 2015). Often, nurses play a pivotal role as they serve as a point of contact between clients and such teams at the community level. Thus, nurses will be most effective when understanding the complementary roles of other health workers and establishing a well-defined team in order to maximize access to essential health services while being comfortable assuming the primary responsibility of advocating the healthcare needs of their patients.
Thus, the role of nurses in the global community occupies a principle place. They provide healthcare services and improve the public health through implementing new programs and initiatives as well as educating people. Their knowledge, skills, and energy enhance their efforts and help achieve their goal. Moreover, their interaction with other health workers creates interdisciplinary teams that amplify change in the world healthcare community.
Allender, J., Rector, C., & Warner, K. D. (2013). Community & public health nursing: Promoting the public’s health (8th ed.). Philadelphia, PA: Wolters Kluwer/Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.
Benton, D. (2012). Advocating globally to shape policy and strengthen nursing’s influence. The Online Journal of Issues in Nursing, 17(1), manuscript 5. DOI: 10.3912/OJIN.Vol17No01Man05
Breakey, S., Corless, I. B., Meedzan, N. L., & Nicholas, P. K. (Eds.). (2015). ?Global health nursing in the 21st century. New York, NY: Springer Publishing Company.
Stanhope, M., & Lancaster, J. (2015). Public health nursing: Population-centered health care in the community (9th ed.). St. Louis, MO: Elsevier.
Upvall, M. J., & Leffers, J. M. (Eds.). (2014). Global health nursing: Building and sustaining partnerships. New York, NY: Springer Publishing Company, LLC.