Caroline Newberry BSN
Nurse Educator Mentor for Community Health
Health and Social Services
GNWT PUBLIC SERVICE:
Community Health Nurses
Community health nurses are the primary care providers in most Northwest Territories communities, working in an expanded nursing role with other health care professionals.
In addition to community, home care and public health services, these nurses provide treatment and emergency care services, X-ray, Medivac services and crisis management. There are 28 community health centres in the Northwest Territories, employing between one and seven nurses each.
The purpose of Community Health Nurse is to provide community health promotion services in a designated region in accordance with the philosophy and objectives of the Authority and to promote the prevention of disease, maintenance of health and the overall health and well being of the community.
Services may be provided within the Health Station, community halls, schools or in a patients/residents home (i.e. elderly population) and are intended to promote a health way of life, and decrease the incidence of death and disease. Services may be provided on an individual basis or as part of a multi-disciplinary team.
The main responsibilities of a Community Health Nurse are as follows:
1. To provide comprehensive community health programs (i.e. including but not limited to Well-Child/Woman/Man clinics, pre and post-natal clinics, school health program, chronic disease clinic, immunization programs, communicable disease surveillance and treatment) according to the GNWT Health Standards in order to protect, prevent and reduce the incidence of communicable disease, to promote a healthy life style and to reduce the incidence of disability and/or death to all community members.
2. To provide direct nursing care to patients/clients using a problem solving approach and in accordance with the standards, guidelines and scope of expanded nursing practice to facilitate care of patients.
3. To facilitate, implement and modify patient and family educational/teaching based on the needs of the patient.
4. To advocate practice environments that have the organization and resource allocations necessary for safe, competent and ethical nursing care.
- Assist in the arranging of, and participate in specialty clinics with physician specialists or other health care providers (i.e. Ophthalmic Technologists, Dental Therapists, etc.).
- Deliver a wide variety of community health clinics (both pre-packaged and requiring development by the incumbent to fit community needs).
- Evaluate community health programs on a continuing basis and modify programs for appropriateness.
- Act as a resource for other community based health care workers (CHR, Lay Dispensers, Home Support Workers, etc.).
- Promote a safe and healthy environment in homes, schools and throughout the community. Assess, plan, implement, document and evaluate care to ensure a coordinated holistic approach which best meets the needs of the patient (assessments may involve taking x-rays of extremities and/or lungs in order to make appropriate diagnosis).
- Coordinate the admission and transfer (including medivac) of patients based on the identification of abnormal findings, critical nature of a patient and consultation with a physician in Inuvik to ensure the patient receives appropriate care.
- Maintain client and administrative records following professional and legal guidelines in a confidential, concise and accurate manner.
- Assist patients to achieve their optimum level of health in situation of normal health, illness, injury, or through the process of dying.
- Advocate the dignity and self-respect of patients.
- Promote the autonomy of patients and help them to express their health needs and values to obtain appropriate information and services.
- Safeguard the trust of patients that information learned in the context of a professional relationship is shared outside the health care team only with the patient's permission or as legally required.
- Apply and promote principles of equity and fairness to assist patients in receiving unbiased treatment and a share of health services and resources proportionate to their needs.
- Package and transport biological samples and pharmaceutical materials.
- Act in a manner consistent with their professional code of ethics, responsibilities and standards of practice. Use a holistic approach to facilitate individual learning of patients and their families in relation to patient illness or injury (i.e. self-care, health promotion, etc.).
- Assess the patient for physical and psychological needs, their knowledge of their health, disease process and learning needs.
- Develop, revise and evaluate on an ongoing basis, educational resources necessary to support patients. Provide coaching and leadership to peers, students and other members of the health care team to develop skill levels necessary to achieve the standard of care.
- Collaborate with nurses, peers and other members of the health care team to advocate health care environments that are conducive to ethical practice and to the health and well-being of patients and staff.
- Participates in research (i.e. flu watch), special projects (new immunization programs) and monthly interagency meetings to plan, implement and evaluate joint projects related to the community's health status.