Nursing

Nurses hold the keys to promoting a culture of health

Nurse Leader Insider, October 8, 2015

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Jennifer Thew, RN, for HealthLeaders Media , October 6, 2015

Nurses can have a profound effect on the health of patients, residents, and communities. But they need to be empowered to make connections and share their innovations, says the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

With all the attention it's been getting in recent years, population health may seem like it's a newfangled idea. But I, and probably any other nurse you ask, will let you in a little secret. It's nothing new.

Nurses have been immersed in population health for over a century. In 1893, nursing pioneer Lillian Wald coined the term public health nursing, which the American Public Health Association now describes as "the practice of promoting and protecting the health of populations. Wald's work with immigrant women living in New York City's Lower East Side spawned the Vising Nurse Service of New York and the Henry Street Settlement, which is still helping New Yorkers with social services and healthcare programs.

Nurses everywhere have been serving patient's needs out in the community ever since. Community health nurses, parish nurses, school nurses, and nurses in nurse-led clinics have all extended patient care beyond the confines of the hospital walls.

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