We are all public health nurses
Every nurse has the capacity to directly and indirectly influence the health and wellbeing of people, communities and populations. Public health is the business of every nurse, all nurses are public health nurses, ensuring that every contact counts. Public health impacts us all, as service users or health and social care providers. When provided with the right opportunities and appropriate support people can, and often wish to, take responsibility for their own health.
The practice of public health is defined as:
‘The science and art of promoting and protecting health and wellbeing, preventing ill-health and prolonging life through the organised efforts of society.’
This definition resonates well with so many principles that make up our own Code (Nursing and Midwifery Council, 2018).
Public health practice is population-based, emphasising collective responsibility for health, health protection and disease prevention. It recognises the role that the state has to play as it is linked to a concern for the underlying socio-economic and wider determinants of health, as well as disease and the absolute need to ensure that people and communities can access public health interventions. Partnership working between all those who contribute to the health of the population is vital.
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