NUR405 Past and Present Leaders

Past and Present Leaders
The Institute of Medicine (IOM), in their report The Future of the Public’s Health defined public health as what society does collectively to assure the conditions for people to be healthy. This definition builds on the classic definition of public health proposed by C.E. Winslow in 1920, which indicates that public health is the science of preventing disease, prolonging life and promoting health through organized community efforts. Since Florence Nightingale, nursing has been an explicit part of the planning, evaluation and implementation of actions taken to meet the goals of public health. The continued efforts needed to improve the health of populations and communities require not only an appreciation of the role nurses have played in the past, but a clear explicit commitment from both the nursing profession and the field of public health science that nurses, the largest segment of the professional health care workforce are key to the success of meeting public health goals across the globe.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), “In the 21st century, health is a shared responsibility, involving equitable access to essential care and collective defense against transnational threats.”. Nurses share in this responsibility. In baccalaureate undergraduate nursing programs in the United States community/public health is viewed as essential content. Specialty programs in public health nursing exist at the master’s degree and doctoral degree level. That collective defense against transnational threats requires that nurses develop skills in public health science so that practice related to prevention is informed and tied to a clear knowledge base. A clear example of this is the outbreak of H1N1 Swine Flu virus. Though individual risks such as age and immune status contribute to the severity of an infectious disease once acquired, prevention is determined by access to adequate sanitation, herd immunity, living environments and…