How can I as a Nurse Change the Public Health System in the USA?
The functions of the public health care system according to Deacon (2001) are: improving the health and well-being of the population; preventing disease and reducing its consequences; prolonging life; and minimizing imbalance in health.
The United States government has always been persistent in addressing public health. In line with this, the government proposed a new public health reform that attempts to acquire a wider coverage of state residents by requiring them to get a health care coverage.
According to Kaisernetwork.org (2007), the reform would have the following provisions: 1) Residents having 250% and below of poverty level would receive subsidies from the state; 2) Residents having up to 400% of poverty level would have the opportunity to remove health care premium costs that are beyond 5.5% of their compensation; and 3) Residents who retire before age 65 would be given tax credits to avert them from spending more than 10% of their insurance savings. The planned reform attempts a wider coverage so it prohibits insurers to turn down residents wishing to acquire health care coverage. However, critics contend that the health care reform would be unfair and unproductive. In addition, it would be unsustainable – politically and financially.
Public servants such as myself who belong to the nursing profession concern ourselves with the community’s health. We play a critical role in improving public’s health based on their knowledge, adequacy, and accessibility as mentioned by Deacon (2001).
Our knowledge as nurses is quite depended by the public since they have extensive awareness of the communities they serve and the needs of these. We as nurses are also considered to be in a position to work for the public since they are regarded legitimate individuals that promote health improvement. The adequacy of nurses also enables people to confidentially discuss issues with them since they are viewed to be part of a large population of both ill and well.
Biomedicine.org (2008) asserted that the contribution of nurses, like myself, to the health care reform will be on the calculations of the patient result quality and costs of health care. Nevertheless, nurses can help change the existing health care system by providing substantive information to the community at large, thereby educating them with the cure and prevention of certain diseases. DOH (2000) stated that nurses are responsible of health awareness activities such as immunizations, cancer screening, and helping people with diabetes and asthma live dynamically.
Problems with communities can also be addressed by nurses by facilitating groups that will educate individuals with health issues such as smoking and mental illness. Above all, these public figures should be well informed in educational and organizational support to be fully trusted by local communities as health practitioners so that they may be able to embark systematic measures to change the current health care system the society is put in.
Public health care reforms are made for the benefit of state residents, but some reforms are just too costly and unproductive to be appreciated by average citizens. Nevertheless, nurses play the crucial role of promoting health, preventing illness and prolonging life, no matter what health care reform the country is put in. But for nurses to help change the current health care system, they must be able to fully utilize their potentials by sharing their knowledge and experience to educate and promote health awareness; assessing the information, terminologies, and concept available to them and creating opportunities such as support groups to share new information and experiences which are accorded to them, as mentioned by GANM (2006).
Bio-Medicine.org (2008). Mnnesota registered nurses promote law to improve patient care and address health care costs. Retrieved on February 27, 2008
Deacon, S. (2001). Nursing for health: Areview of the contribution of nurses, midwives and health visitors to improving the public’s health in scotland. Retrieved on February 27, 2008 from http://www.scotland.gov.uk/Publications/2001/03/8525/File-1
Department of Health. (2000). Vital contribution made by community nurses to public health. February 27, 2008 from http://archive.nics.gov.uk/hss/001110e-hss.htm
Global Alliance for Nursing and Midwifery Communities of Practice. (2006). Wrking together
for health knowledge exchange. Retrieved on February 27, 2008 from my.ibpinitiative.org/public/Default.aspx?c=1325c561-2b21-449e-880e-6623a1214707
Kaisernetwork.org. (December 17, 2007). State wtch California Gov. Schwarzenegger, state assembly speaker reach compromise on health system overhaul. Retrieved on February 27, 2008 from http://www.kaisernetwork.org/daily_reports/rep_index.cfm?hint=3&DR_ID=49449