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Public health is one of the major areas of healthcare practice. Public Health is defined as a science of ensuring safety and improving the health of the communities through education, research, policymaking, and disease and injury prevention (Brownson et al., 2017). I was recently placed in a public healthcare setting as a student nurse where I had to work under the guidance of a senior nurse for the health promotion and advocacy for the patients with HIV AIDS. This reflective essay presents a concise summary of my experience in a placement setting as a student nurse in the health promotion campaign developed for patients with AIDS.
HIV AIDS is one of the major public health menaces globally with about 37.9 million people living with AIDS globally (Stover et al., 2016). In Australia, it has been estimated that about 27,545 individuals are living with HIV. 89% of this population was diagnosed as recent as 2017 (Pickles et al., 2020). I was a part of the health promotion and advocacy team as a student nurse. My role in the campaign was to participate in the health promotion activities, collect knowledge about the local transmission and help in the development of the promotion strategies. In the course of the placement, I was given professional training in public health by the seniors that helped me understand the roles and the responsibilities of the public healthcare worker. As a student working in the public healthcare sector, I was informed that it is the essential duty of the public healthcare workers to provide the health information by instructing the family and the carers of the patient and assist in the process of rehabilitation (Baum, 2016). I also learned that it is an essential responsibility of healthcare professionals to ensure that the community promotes health and takes preventive steps for the disease and injury incidences (Russo et al., 2018).
I was also trained and taught about the Ottawa charter of health promotion. The Ottawa charter helps in the development of processes that enable the community to participate and improve their health by building a health public policy, creating the supportive environments, strengthening community action, development of personal skills, and re-orientation of the healthcare services (Aadal et al., 2018). As a student nurse, it was my duty to assist the senior public healthcare staff and assist them in researching and collecting information for effective policymaking for the individuals suffering from HIV and to help in the development of health literacy programs for the patients as well as the carers of the individuals who suffer from HIV infections and AIDS (Laholt et al., 2017). The primary focus of the program and policy was to provide essential assistance to the patients by providing the disease knowledge to minimize the existing stigma around AIDS. Minimizing the stigma around the HIV infection will help in promoting awareness in the community (Stanhop & Lancaster, 2017). The stigma around the HIV infection and AIDS significantly impacts the health and availability of services to the patients. Therefore, as a public healthcare professional, it is crucial to promote beneficence and health in the community by providing the necessary patient education (Pickles et al., 2020).
In my course of the placement, I learned about the different aspects of public healthcare professionals and their essential role in maintaining community health and well being. As a student nurse, I followed the directions of my seniors and worked in their close association where I participated in the health promotion activities. Under the guidance of my seniors, I developed the health promotion activities and campaigns that focused on providing adequate healthcare to the patients with HIV AIDS and provide knowledge and advocate the essential care required by the patients. I also assisted in providing a detailed conversation in a community welfare program on how the disease should not be stigmatized as it impacts the care services, psychological impact, and availability of the care services (Arcus et al., 2016). As a course of this placement, I was able to learn the essential roles and responsibilities of the public healthcare workers. I was also able to learn how the public health policies and wellness programs are planned and executed in the community to ensure the wellbeing and overall beneficence of the community.
Before this placement, I had limited knowledge of how chronic health conditions like AIDS can significantly impact the lives of patients as well as their carers. I also had limited knowledge of how essential healthcare programs and healthcare planning essentials like Ottawa charter can assist in the development of the healthcare programs and their successful execution. I found this placement highly beneficial as I was able to learn and develop my existing knowledge and skills of health promotion and campaign development in the community care services in the public health to ensure highest quality care, health promotion, and disease prevention. Since I was also able to learn the psychological impact of the chronic illnesses like AIDS on patients and their carers, I will be able to ensure holistic care to patients that suffer from health conditions like AIDS that are widely stigmatized leading to a prejudiced behaviour against the patients. I also learned how to effectively research the relevant information and work in teams through this placement that will be highly beneficial for my future as public healthcare professional.
This reflective paper provides a concise reflection of my experience as a student in a public healthcare service that aimed at providing care services and promoting health in the community concerning the patients living with HIV AIDS. In my course of learning, I was able to gather knowledge about various public healthcare aspects that included information about how to provide psychological support to patients with chronic illnesses and promote knowledge to minimize stigma. I am certain that these skills will be highly beneficial for me in my future course of practice and help me develop as good public healthcare professional.
Aadal, L., Angel, S., Langhorn, L., Pedersen, B. B., & Dreyer, P. (2018). Nursing roles and functions addressing relatives during in‐hospital rehabilitation following stroke. Care needs and involvement. Scandinavian Journal of Caring Sciences, 32(2), 871-879.
Arcus, K., Gunn, L., Nelson, K., & McKinlay, E. (2016). Public health nursing in a non-traditional environment. Whitireia Nursing and Health Journal, (23), 45.
Baum, F. (2016). The new public health (No. Ed. 4). Oxford University Press.
Brownson, R. C., Baker, E. A., Deshpande, A. D., & Gillespie, K. N. (2017). Evidence-based public health. United Kingdom: Oxford university press.
Laholt, H., Guillemin, M., Mcleod, K., Olsen, R. E., & Lorem, G. F. (2017). Visual methods in health dialogues: A qualitative study of public health nurse practice in schools. Journal of Advanced Nursing, 73(12), 3070-3078.
Pickles, K., Kazda, L., Barratt, A., McGeechan, K., Hersch, J., & McCaffery, K. (2020). Evaluating two decision aids for Australian men supporting informed decisions about prostate cancer screening: A randomised controlled trial. PloS One, 15(1), e0227304.
Russo, P. L., Cheng, A. C., Mitchell, B. G., & Hall, L. (2018). Healthcare-associated infections in Australia: tackling the ‘known unknowns’. Australian Health Review, 42(2), 178-180.
Stanhope, M., & Lancaster, J. (2017). Foundations for Population Health in Community/Public Health Nursing-E-Book. United Kingdom: Elsevier Health Sciences.
Stover, J., Bollinger, L., Izazola, J. A., Loures, L., DeLay, P., Ghys, P. D., & Fast Track modeling working Group. (2016). What is required to end the AIDS epidemic as a public health threat by 2030? The cost and impact of the fast-track approach. PloS One, 11(5).
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