Core Public Health Functions (Nursing)

by Heide Cygan, DNP, RN

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    00:01 Have you ever wondered what is public health? Well, I'm here to explain it to you today.

    00:07 Public health are the actions that we as a society take to ensure the conditions in which people live contribute to positive health outcomes.

    00:16 Now, before we can discuss positive health outcomes, it's important to have a clear understanding of the concept of health.

    00:22 So what is health? This here is the wellness-illness continuum.

    00:27 This model demonstrates that health exists along a spectrum.

    00:31 On the right side, we have wellness with optimal health being the farthest end of the spectrum.

    00:36 And then the left we have illness with death, or total disability being the farthest end of that side of the spectrum.

    00:44 In public health our goal is to guide individuals, communities and populations towards the wellness side of the spectrum increasing their overall level of wellness and decreasing their level of illness.

    00:56 But it's important to remember that individuals are parts of communities, they're parts of groups.

    01:01 This means that individual health is influenced by the communities and the groups that they're a part of.

    01:06 So let's take a look at an example of what this looks like for health.

    01:11 I'd like you to meet Molly.

    01:13 In recent years, her health has started to decline.

    01:16 She was diagnosed with hypertension and was instructed by her provider to engage in heart healthy activities.

    01:22 And Molly's doing just that.

    01:23 She's making personal efforts to increase her wellness by changing her diet.

    01:28 Specifically, she's including more fruits and vegetables and fewer sugar sweetened beverages in her life daily, she feels good about the change.

    01:36 After just a couple of weeks, she starts to see changes in the way she feels.

    01:40 However, Molly's family has been dealing with a great amount of stress lately related to the loss of income of her partner.

    01:47 The stress and difficulty coping is pushing Molly as a part of her family unit towards the illness side of the spectrum.

    01:55 But on the other hand, Molly's employer recently started a workplace wellness initiative.

    01:59 This includes a variety of exercising yoga classes, and wellness seminars each week.

    02:06 This effort pushes Molly and all of her coworkers towards the wellness side of the spectrum.

    02:11 Now Molly lives in a community that just welcomed a new factory.

    02:15 While this is great for the economy, the pollution from the factory decreases the air quality, and it makes it challenging for her to spend time outside walking for physical activity and stress relief.

    02:26 This pushes her back towards the illness side of the spectrum.

    02:29 So as you can see, although Molly is making personal efforts to improve her health, and move herself towards optimal health, she's also been pushed in the opposite direction due to the groups and the communities that she's a part of.

    02:41 It's almost like a game of tug of war.

    02:45 There are a wide variety of professionals that make up the public health workforce.

    02:49 Nurses, epidemiologist, physicians and researchers are all important members of the workforce.

    02:55 No matter what your specialty or your setting, all public health professionals are guided by the core public health functions, assessment, policy development and assurance.

    03:06 So let's take a look at these each individually.

    03:10 First, we have assessment.

    03:11 Assessment is the systematic collection, assembly, analysis and dissemination of information about the health of the public.

    03:20 In assessment, we collect data to monitor the health of the population, and also ensure that this information is available to the community through dissemination such as in community health assessment reports.

    03:32 Data collection here drives policy development and assurance.

    03:36 So let's take a look at policy development.

    03:39 Policy development refers to the need and obligation to provide leadership in creating policies and programs to support the health of the public.

    03:48 It is essential that the public health workforce use data and current evidence to support health and all policy decisions.

    03:56 And then finally, we have assurance.

    03:58 This is our pledge to provide community wide health services that are needed.

    04:02 Assurance is also the responsibility to build a public health workforce that's robust and competent in the core functions and essential services.

    04:11 These three core functions are all centered around the concept of equity.

    04:15 Public health professionals carry out these core functions with a goal of increasing equity across populations.

    04:23 Altogether, through assessment, policy development and assurance, public health professionals assure and protect the health of the public.

    04:34 Within each of these core functions, lay the 10 essential services.

    04:38 These are more specific tasks that members of the public health workforce carry out within each of the core functions.

    04:44 Let's start first by looking at assessment.

    04:47 Within assessment we monitor the health status of the community to help identify specific community health needs and opportunities.

    04:55 We diagnose and investigate identified needs further to determine where policies and programs can positively impact the health of the public.

    05:04 Further, we do this as a way to better understand the root causes of the problems.

    05:09 Moving on to policy development.

    05:12 Within policy development, we inform and educate communities about health needs empowering them to take action.

    05:18 We mobilize community partners to look for solutions to those identified health needs.

    05:24 We develop, champion and implement policies, plans and programs that support the health of the public on the individual and community level.

    05:34 And finally, we do all these following legal and regulatory processes.

    05:39 And last but not least, we have assurance.

    05:41 First, we make sure that we have a strong public health infrastructure that can support all the services we provide to protect and maintain the health of the public.

    05:50 We improve and innovate through research and evaluation improving the quality of services.

    05:56 In order to do this, we need a diverse and highly skilled workforce.

    06:02 We connect individuals and communities with the services they need, and in many cases provide the needed services contributing to equitable access to care.

    06:13 Public health nurses are a unique group of public health professionals.

    06:17 We work alongside other professionals such as epidemiologists to carry out the public health core functions and 10 essential services.

    06:26 We are unique in that we bring a nursing perspective to our work, we protect and restore the health of the public through a nursing lens.

    06:34 Thanks for listening.

    About the Lecture

    The lecture Core Public Health Functions (Nursing) by Heide Cygan, DNP, RN is from the course Basic Concepts in Public Health Nursing.

    Included Quiz Questions

    1. The actions society takes to ensure living conditions contribute to positive health outcomes.
    2. The branch of nursing focusing on vaccine-preventable diseases.
    3. The continuum of health ranging from illness to wellness.
    4. The overall state of health and wellbeing within a particular society.
    1. Assurance
    2. Assessment
    3. Policy development
    4. Disease prevention
    5. Public education
    1. Addressing health hazards.
    2. Infrastructure building.
    3. Policy implementation.
    4. Building a diverse workforce.
    5. Medication administration.

    Author of lecture Core Public Health Functions (Nursing)

     Heide Cygan, DNP, RN

    Heide Cygan, DNP, RN

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