Public health nursing involves working with communities and populations as equal partners, and focusing on primary prevention and health promotion (Kulbok, Thatcher, Park, Meszaros, 2012). There are many types of public health nurses in the area I live in including home health nurses, health department nurses, free clinic nurses, and home hospice nurses. Community based nursing involves collaboration and partnerships with communities and populations to address health and social conditions and problems. The nurse I interviewed for this discussion, Jennifer, is a registered nurse who takes home call for Community Hospice, a locally owned hospice service in the Vidalia area. I have dealt with this facility on a personal and professional level and there is no greater community centered facility in our area more so than Community Hospice.
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Q: What are your job responsibilities?
A: As an on-call nurse, my main job is new patient intakes after business hours. This includes going into the homes of patients who are admitted under hospice care. During these intake assessments it is my job to record and take vital signs, educate families and patients on the disease, prognosis, treatments, and hospice care, and to ensure that families and patients understand and agree with the plan of care. On routine visits it is my responsibility to again assess patients, record vital signs, as well as monitor any changes from previous visits and report changes to our providers on staff.
Q: Does a correlation exist between your job description and your practice?
A: Although she has a very clear job description laid out for her, she explains that her duties go far beyond the typical hands on patient care the typical nurse sees in the office or hospital setting. She explains hospice is a special kind of job where you not only care for the patient but patient’s families as well. She explains sometimes the care for the patient includes caring for them family and helping them cope with the prognosis of death.
Q: Are you involved in policy formulation that affects client services?
A: Jennifer describes her work environment and boss as exceptional. All staff are seen as equals and their opinions valued to the fullest. Each day they have a meeting where all staff who reports to the Hospice House that day go through reports as well as ideas to make their jobs successful. She states having supportive staff members makes it easy to help policy implementation and change.
Q: Do you belong to a professional organization related to your current job position?
A: Currently Jennifer explains she is not involved in an organization related to hospice care. However there is an organization that several of her fellow employees are members of which is the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization (NHPCO). This organization’s mission is the largest nonprofit membership organization representing hospice and palliative care programs and professionals in the United States. The organization is committed to improving end-of-life care and expanding access to hospice care with the goal of profoundly enhancing quality of life for people dying in America and their loved ones (NHPCO 2018). This organization helps support and update hospice based nurses on any advances in their area of nursing as well as provide support.