Nursing Responsibilities Of Health Inequities

Submitted By chelle345
Words: 1075
Pages: 5

Nursing Responsibilities of Health Inequities

Michelle R. Fields

University of Central Missouri

Nursing Responsibilities of Health Inequities Nurses take care of people in a variety of setting, impacting their health and overall wellbeing at various moments of their life. Nurses' are a prime profession to target and assist in closing the gap of health inequities. The social mandate on nurses to understand, promote change and reduce health inequities is becoming increasingly more apparent and important. As the gap in American health continues to grow wider, change is necessary and action must be taken to close this widening gap. To address health inequities, nurses must first have a deep understanding of who, what, why, and where inequities exists. To understand the needs of the American population, first a nurse must research and get a good understanding of health inequities and its overall impact this country. Although the situation is complex, the root causes must first be identified. Policy advocacy is one area of focus to help reduce inequities by looking at the policies that enable the social determinants of health (Reutter & Kushner, 2010). Social determinants of health are the modifiable characteristics that include the public, physical and economic environment (Kaakinen, Coehlo, Steele, Tabacco and Hanson, 2015). In order for nurses to address these policy issues, education on health policy and advocacy should be included in the nursing curriculum. Emphasis should be placed on schools to incorporate this so there is a basic understanding of policies and how they are formed. As a patient advocate, advocacy at the government level can help to address the public needs in a way that the public may not be able to. Nursing organizations and stakeholders are great places to bring about awareness to promote and lobby for change. Every American should have the opportunity to obtain quality health with reduced health disparities. A nurses professional education promotes a deeper more complex understanding of potential health problems, and the ability to effectively advocate for patients, families and the overall population. In order to strengthen the overall efforts of addressing current governmental issues that shape social determinants and health disparities, education is essential so the population, especially those with power, are educated and understand health inequity does exist and is a true problem. Increasing self awareness through education is an excellent place to start. Often people who do not feel affected by health inequities, are the ones that have the greatest ability to influence and promote change by adjusting attitudes, belief and actions regarding these inequities (Reutter & Kushner, 2010). Since nurses spend a large amount of time with patients and families, nurses often have the opportunity to educate. Another method to educate the public is to involve communities and public health nurses to foster educational needs within a community. The public health nurse would be great resources to educate and to identify what social determinants of health have the greatest impact on an individual's health, such as housing, schools, jobs and neighborhoods within the community. Education is a key factor in initiating change at a country, governmental and community level to tackle reduction in health disparities and social determinants of health. Promoting healthcare workforce diversity in nursing is another idea that may help accomplish health equity. According to Williams et al. (2014) a diverse nursing workforce can help increase the overall access to healthcare and available resources to underserved areas. Racial and ethnic minority groups only represent a small percentage of the nursing population. Their role in the nursing field is important as they can recruit others in the minority group and can influence organizations by having unique and