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Societal justice and critical reflection are the fundamental concepts underlying community activism. The former refers to the unbiased distribution of resources for a prolific and fulfilling lifestyle (Reichlin et al., 2019). For instance, through campaigns and demonstrations, nurses, practitioners and the general community would be able to advocate the cause of providing adequate medical amenities.
Critical reflection boosts one’s understanding of the resident community’s issues (such as inadequate staffing) as well as those of others across the globe. Through this approach, the management and staff members would be able to devise long-term resolutions that ensure adequate staffing in the present and future (Reichlin et al., 2019). For example, pursuing suitable programs at academic institutions can steer students in the direction of the healthcare industry.
Paying attention and keeping up with the trends in the tobacco industry is vital. This effort helps the advanced practice nurses to engage in community activism for preventing the negative health impacts associated with Big Tobacco in their respective societies (Salmond & Echevarria, 2017). As a result, the nurses would be in a position to enlighten the community members on addictiveness and diseases (such as lung cancer) associated with the increased consumption of tobacco products.
Organizing programs to campaign against smoking is an essential stratagem that would aid nurses in educating the public on why tobacco control policy measures such as higher taxes are needed to ensure reduced consumption. With this tactic, nurses could participate in community activism to curb any further ill effects arising from the use of Big Tobacco (Salmond & Echevarria, 2017). Moreover, holding seminars that counsel smokers and non-smokers, especially the youth, to remain vigilant against industry-instigated efforts would be essential in discouraging the consumption of tobacco products.
Through schooling, training, and knowledge learned along the way, Advanced Registered Nurse Practitioners (ARNPs) are equipped with the necessary skillset and tools to assist members of the community have improvement in their health outcomes. As key players in patient, ARNPs play a vital role in community activism to bridge the gap in healthcare disparities across different population groups and to improve the community. Maryland & Gonzalez (2012) asserts that the vast “amount of interactions that nurses have with patients leads to them personally witnessing the positives and negatives of the current healthcare system and consequently enable them to identify the needs of their patients by the care or the lack of it they receive.” Due to their first-hand interaction, nurses can advocate for their patients and their families and convey their experiences to the public and policymakers to bring about change in current health care policies (Maryland & Gonzalez, 2012).
According to Messias (2019), community activism entails the key concepts of “community, social justice, raising consciousness, critical reflection, praxis, and empowerment of members of the community.” With each key concept comes certain actions on the part of the activist and subsequent delineations of certain orders of events. Nurse Practitioners can embody all the characteristics of community activism Messias asserts to promote the overall health status of the community. According to Messias (2019), community activism starts with an understanding of the community, in which individuals must realize that they are part of a larger group and share common interests in order to catalyze change. Praxis entails the process of ideas and theories being made and actualized, which consequently brings about unification—or division—of members of the community. Praxis affects the practices and customs of members of the community and affect the interaction of these individuals. With social justice, the way individuals perceive justice and what is right or wrong, affects the justice system and what behaviors are viewed as deviant in the community.
Raising consciousness and empowerment of members of the community are vital to altering the status quo hopefully for the better but negative impacts can ensue. Teaching members of the community that they have rights can empower them to develop or defend them against lawmakers. Shining light on certain issues, such as through protest and petition with local or federal elected officials can bring about necessary changes in the management of certain disease plaguing the community (Mason, Gardner, Outlaw, & O’Grady, 2016). Empowerment is the ultimate goal (Mason et al., 2016) as by doing so individuals in the community will do what is necessary to improve their health on a holistic level.
Maryland & Gonzalez (2012) argues that nurses can make significant influence in community activism on a multilevel approach. Maryland & Gonzalez (2012) asserts that school nurses can attend school board meetings to voice their personal viewpoint of the ramifications of inadequate staffing to monitor the health of school children. They are only equipped with the knowledge to voice this opinion because of their personal experience with performing their duties of providing basic healthcare to their patients (in this case, school children). My daughter is a third grader at a local elementary school. In a school of more than 800 students, there is only one nurse. Imagine how difficult it is to provide care to these students during the cold and flu season or any ordinary day for that matter. This stresses the importance of community activism by nurses and advanced practice nurses. The level of care they provide to their patient population is affected by factors in the community so who is best to make the issues known and advocate for and against them but nurses? Nurses, through their inimitable experience with their patients, can bring to the forefront issues that affect their patient and the community. Policymakers should hold the voice of nurses in high-esteem prior to making any changes that will affect individuals of a community.
From a community activism approach, ARNPS can mitigate further negative health impacts from Big Tobacco by bringing social awareness and consciousness to the issue. Letting members of the community become aware or reminded of the ramifications of smoking cigarettes or consuming other tobacco products will greatly decrease the number of individuals in the community that smoke or will smoke. Health fairs broadcasting posters of individuals with lung cancer or tracheostomies from cigarette smoking or oral cancers from chewing tobacco are one of the ways that ARNPS can use community activism to help manage the negative impact of Big Tobacco. On each healthcare visits, ARNPs need to assess if their patients smoke and make them aware of the ramifications in addition to offer smoking cessation counseling and education. Empowerment is necessary to help individuals in the community to stop because many of them have been smoking since childhood. Smoking is also a way that many of these individuals cope and manage stress. Offering them alternative coping measures is crucial to getting them to stop smoking. Educating the community of the long-term risk of smoking, the consumption, and second-hand smoking, is vital to deterring the use of tobacco and promoting the overall health of the community. Mason et al. (2016) states that tobacco usage and exposure is the foremost cause of preventable death in the nation. This statement alone will serve to remind individuals of the negative consequences of smoking and will lead to many of them quitting.
To conclude, advanced practice nurses play a rather significant role in patient advocacy to improve the health outcomes of their patients. Nurses can employ various teaching methodologies to assist their patients improve their overall health. Tackling issues at the community level can help nurses being awareness to issues that directly and indirectly affect patients. Bringing awareness to certain issues, such as the negative influence of Big Tobacco on the overall health of individuals in a community, are one of the many ways that ARNPS can help ameliorate the health status of the community. The ARNP can collaborate with other members of the interdisciplinary team and elected officials to maximize the impact of decreasing negative health issues in the community.
Response posts must be minimum 100 words each. Word document, double space. APA (6th)
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Describe the key concepts underlying community activism and give examples of how each of these concepts applies to a specific context. Examine how advanced practice nurses can engage in community activism to limit further negative health impacts from Big Tobacco in their respective health communities.
Attached below is an additional resource, an article, that details various ways by which nursing professionals can engage in community activism.
Patient Advocacy and in the Community and Legislative Arena: http://nursingworld.org/MainMenuCategories/ANAMarketplace/ANAPeriodicals/OJIN/TableofContents/Vol-17-2012/No1-Jan-2012/Advocacy-in-Community-and-Legislative-Arena.html?css=print
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