W6 Reflection: Public Health

The public health intersection appealed to me because I am in nursing school and I have been thinking about what type of nursing I want to pursue. Public health focuses on the well-being of a population in a community or region. For nurses, there are a variety of professions in the public health realm, for example, a traveling nurse or a nurse that works in a school or factory.

An example of an organization that focuses on public health is the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) which was described in our course material for this week. An organization like the CDC is known for providing information and statistics about disease but I believe the anthropological perspective is important because it focuses on the person with the disease. The CDC employs nurses as advocates for public health and I believe an anthropological perspective for these nurses is important because it focuses on the human element

For nurses, it is important to be knowledgeable about the patients you are caring for and their unique cultural background. Being culturally competent helps to provide treatment that meets the patient’s specific needs and to prevent misunderstandings in the therapeutic relationship. For example, how a nurse approaches a therapeutic relationship with a child from a refugee family that recently moved to the United States would be completely different from a working relationship with a native family.

The anthropological perspective allows for nurses to recognize the specific needs that their patients have based on their background, barriers to these needs, and ways to effectively provide patient care. For example, a refugee child may need their vaccinations but due to a language barrier it may be difficult to communicate with the child and family about the process so a nurse may choose to contact an interpreter for assistance in treating the child. This is an example of how a nurse uses the anthropological perspective in the public health realm to make culturally competent decisions in practice.

4 thoughts on “W6 Reflection: Public Health

  1. I think in reading your post Samantha there are three perfect statements you made even if you really didn’t know you made them. I quote “For nurses, it is important to be knowledgeable about the patients you are caring for and their unique cultural background. Being culturally competent helps to provide treatment that meets the patient’s specific needs and to prevent misunderstandings in the therapeutic relationship.” Having to make contact with medical provider’s offices in my job I have found that the doctor’s nurse always tries to assist me first before getting to speak to the doctor. In doing so I have found two things factual either the nurse knows the patient or they don’t, the unfortunate side is when they don’t which happens more times than it should. With the following statement, I think you sort of missed something rather important. “The anthropological perspective allows for nurses to recognize the specific needs that their patients have based on their background, barriers to these needs, and ways to effectively provide patient care.” The other side of this puzzle piece that your missing is the needs of the doctor, with a variety of international residences and doctors that work in this country, what are their needs.
    Great post and great angle.

  2. Hi Samantha. It was lovely reading your post and your perspective on Public Heath. Your choice of the Center for Disease Control as an organization for Public Health in the United States was a great one as they are responsible for the containment and management of diseases that can threaten the good health of the population. It was interesting to look at your perspective on Nursing and Public Health when helping other patients. As nurses help to assist their patients and cater to the specific needs and expectations of a patient, it is also important to note the cultural trends and patterns that shape the beliefs of that patient and the rest to the population in that region. Using your example on the need of a vaccination, another way anthropology could be useful is if the patient is non-compliant for taking the vaccine even though the patient knows it may help. It could be because of the culture belief that vaccines are bad or not the best treatment and so anthropology could be used to find another treatment or a way to deliver the vaccine in a way that agree with the population’s beliefs or that will cause less of a struggle to accept which in term can hinder the healing process altogether.

  3. Hello Samanta,
    I would like to begin by congratulating you on your future endeavors within the field of public health. It is individuals like you (nurses, doctors, surgeons, etc.) that keep our health care systems running in an adequate and timely manner and I commend your efforts.
    Additionally, I liked your personal comparison of nurses and their relationship within anthropological study and public health. I agree it is very important to understand that the public health realm is very culturally diversified. Nurses and other health care providers are advocates for public health and having prior knowledge of an anthropological perspective is something that is essential for these careers. The patient-provider relationship is a very important source of communication and actually acknowledges the efforts and progress of Public Health Organizations.
    To conclude your post was very insightful and full of important and relevant information regarding health care organizations more specially the CDC who are very influential in our health care systems and policies. Another important example of a health care organization is the World Health Organization (WHO). The WHO provides us with information regarding illnesses and diseases similar to that of the CDC and their primary goal (in my opinion) is universal wellness as well. Great Post!

  4. Hey Samantha,
    I thought your perspective on public health was spot on, and I wish you well in the remainder of your nursing school. I liked how you related your knowledge of public health and applied it to what you will essentially need to abide by in your profession in nursing. I though you did a great job tying in how nursing relates to the roles of medical anthropologists. You did a great job explaining how nurses need to be culturally aware of the patients that they are taking care of. It reminds me of the nursing home that my grandmother was located in before she passed away. She made some great relationships with the nurses at this place, and there were people of all races, shapes, sizes etc that inhabited this location. I thought your post was very insightful, but one aspect of medical anthropology that I think could contribute to this intersection is looking at some cultural aspects of anthropology, especially religion. The nursing home that my grandmother was located as was a Catholic ran nursing home, but all of the patients there were not catholic. Some religions may not believe in specific treatments or vaccinations, so it would be important to know this information before treating the patient. Overall, I thought this was a very insightful post.

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