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.