Public Health Agencies

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Federal, State and Local Public Health Agencies Public Health received national attention when the Institute of Medicine defined it as “organized community efforts aimed at the prevention of disease and the promotion of health” (Salinsky, 2010, p. 5). According to the American Nurses Association (2013) “the health of the population is the cornerstone of public health” (p. 1). Public Health promotes three main functions which consist of assessment of the community’s health status, development of a comprehensive plan and assurance that the community has access to public health services (Hyde & Shortell, 2012). These functions are aimed at guaranteeing the communities within the United States remain as healthy as reasonably possible, which …show more content…
However, it must be noted that the state plays a significant part in managing the local health department and actually implementing certain programs (Salinksy, 2010). The state controls the local level because they are fiscally responsible for distributing the federal and state funds. In addition, they are responsible for monitoring the communities’ health statuses and ensuring that the laws that promote health are abided. One way they monitor the health statuses is through surveillance. The state nurses and epidemiologists are primarily responsible for collecting and reviewing data on certain disease processes. It is through this surveillance that they are able to identify trends and investigate alarming disease patterns. Examples of data collected include vital statistics records, communicable or infectious diseases, surveys of behavioral risk factors, cancer registries, childhood immunizations and hospital discharges (Salinsky, 2012).
Another critical service that is provided by the state especially in the world-wide Ebola scare is the availability of lab services. The state lab is responsible for testing the sophisticated conditions that are often too delicate or even risky for private labs. It is important to note that occasionally, as with the Ebola crisis, even once the state has confirmed the diagnosis, the specimen is
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Combining the individual and community needs requires the nurse to be able to monitor health statuses as well as diagnose and investigate health problems. Once they have discovered an issue in the community or within the individual’s health status, the nurse is required to educate and empower their clients about the issue so that they are proactive and work towards prevention. These nurses often work with other community resources in an effort to solve these health problems. They then must create policies that support their efforts, in addition to enforcing laws created by the state and federal government, such as TB treatment. These nurses then act as case managers and make referrals and coordinate care as needed. Finally, as with any good program, the public health nurse must evaluate the effectiveness and quality of the program and make recommendations for future programs. Research aids the health nurse in making these recommendations (American Nurses Association,

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