An Interview on Advocating for the Nursing Role in Program Design and Implementation

In recent years, the Department of Health and Humans Services (HHS) has expressed concern over a noticeable surge in chronic health conditions within the United States. According to statistics presented by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2020), 51.8% of the adult non-institutionalized American civilian population has been diagnosed with either a single or multiple chronic health conditions  (coronary heart disease, arthritis, diabetes hypertension, or failing kidneys) within the past decade. This phenomenon is connected to the expansion of the the ageing population and lifestyle choices increasing the overall likelihood of developing long-term chronic health conditions. 

My hometown of St. Paul, Minnesota is currently contending with a costly and devastating epidemic of long-term chronic health conditions which pose a direct threat to the wellbeing of townsfolk and their quality of life. Apart from urbanization and the presence of an emergent middleclass population, St. Paul’s tussle with chronic health conditions boils down to inadequate health awareness knowledge, genetic predisposition, and social inequalities. My decision to pursue a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN)-Family Nursing Practitioner (FNP) program was, hence, informed by an awareness of this particular challenge. I, therefore, intend to serve my community through health promotion and disease prevention health programs to improve the public’s awareness of chronic health conditions while also specifying major preventive and contributing factors.

Interviewer: Tell us about a healthcare program within your practice. What are the costs and projected outcomes of this program?

 Interviewee:  The adult-gerontology acute care specialization, under Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP) is the most important element of my MSN-FNP program.  It aims to instill a comprehensive skills that ultimately, facilitate advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs) when providing personalized care, when working within a family setting, and when proving healthcare services to community members (Haugan, 2021). Additionally, the program also empowers APRNs using health promotion and disease prevention knowledge to support and improve patient’s long-term health.  The scope of practice for my MSN-FNP program also covers regular disease screening, reviewing at-risk patients, diagnosing respective chronic health conditions, treatment, and implementing follow-up plans. The adult-gerontology acute care specialty is crucial in the provision of much-needed healthcare services and associated support for the elderly and within a family setting. Possible outcomes of this practice is to qualify in providing advanced health assessments, offering primary healthcare services, gaining proficiency in handling patient’s healthcare data, and crisis management during a health emergency.

Interviewer: Who is your target population?

 Interviewee: The target population for my health promotion and disease prevention program are persons within the middle-age bracket and those above 65 years residing in St. Paul. The middle-aged represent a vulnerable segment of the population at risk of developing chronic health conditions due to health-risk behaviors and lifestyle choices such as cigarette smoking and excessive consumption of alcohol. On the other hand, those aged 65 years and above are at risk of developing age-related chronic disease such as dementia, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease (Mason et al., 2021). I intend to apply a community-based design approach in identifying at-risk persons within St. Paul and its environs. The population will comprise of persons with a pre-existing chronic health condition disease, those currently undergoing treatment, those at risk of developing a life-style related health condition, and those practicing health-risk behavior such frequent tobacco use. Furthermore, the health promotion and disease prevention program will be conducted within a clinical setting to guarantee referral and provision of in- and outpatient services when necessary. Health promotion and disease prevention in St. Paul will, in the long run, reduce the financial and disease burden associated with chronic health conditions in society.

 Interviewer:What is the nurse’s role in providing input for the design of this healthcare program? Can you provide examples?

 Interviewee: Nurses will play a decisive role in my health promotion and disease prevention healthcare program. Their involvement will extend to providing input for the design of the healthcare program and proposing changes where necessary. Furthermore, the program will be based on best practices in health promotion and disease prevention to encourage the provision of individualized healthcare services. Their experience in handling patients suffering from numerous health conditions will come in handy and raise participant’s awareness of the risks posed by health-risk behaviors, a sedentary lifestyle, and unhealthy dietary practices. Nurses will also recommend suitable interventions for persons recently diagnosed with a chronic health condition. Their rich clinical knowledge and expertise will be helpful to the program and may ultimately guarantee deliverables are attained on time. Nurses often directly engage the population participating in health programs as health educators (Wan, 2017). They will, eventually, improve access to healthcare information within a relatively short time. Additionally, their involvement in the program will also promote efficiency and ultimately reduce burnouts commonly associated with broad health promotion and disease prevention programs.

Interviewer: What is your role as an advocate for your target population for this healthcare? How else do you impact design?

 Interviewee:  Today, I owe most of my academic and professional achievements to my St. Paul community.  I was raised in a tight-knit community where academic excellence was encouraged and molded through mentorship and leadership. I am, therefore, indebted to my local community and, thus, intend to give back through my inaugural health promotion and disease prevention program. Additionally, health promotion and disease prevention programs are only featured occasionally within the city due to budget constraints. Nevertheless, my health program will attempt to address this problem while seeking to determine the reasons behind the recent surge in chromic health conditions. According to Geneau (2021), disparities in the effect of chronic health conditions is directly ties to sex, genetic composition, age, predisposing risk factors, diet, tobacco use, and a sedentary lifestyle. I intend to improve participant’s knowledge of these risk and possible interventions to improve their overall wellbeing and quality of life.

Interviewer: What is the role of the nurse in the healthcare program implementation? How does this role vary between the design and implementation of healthcare programs? Can you provide examples?

 Interviewee: Nurses will also feature prominently in the health program implementation for my health promotion and disease prevention campaign. The will mainly be tasked with guaranteeing the successful implementation of the healthcare program through awareness campaigns and capacity building (Palfrey, 2018). Passing health promotion knowledge to fellow colleagues will improve their expertise and the overall quality of healthcare service on offer within a healthcare facility. Although distinct differences exist between design and implementation, nurses will still play a vital role in patient education.

Interviewer: Who are the healthcare team members that you believe is most needed to implement a program? Can you explain why?

Interviewee:  Healthcare specialists such as cardiologists, endocrinologist and neurologists will be a valuable addition to my healthcare team. According to Wan (2017), specialists tasked with managing specific chronic health conditions are better placed to discuss them with participants and may succeed in instituting behavior change. Their involvement should also extend to those recently diagnosed with a chronic health condition to offer expert guidance on disease management and remaining in remission. They can also recommend interventions and conduct regular follow-ups to gauge patient’s level of compliance to clinical directives.

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