Nursing profession is a career with a vast field of different practices with different roles to choose from. This variety makes the nursing field a vulnerable profession for mistakes if not tackled with adequate educational and clinical training. Although there are different specialties for a nurse to choose from to continue their career, it is still necessary for every nurse to have even a little amount of knowledge, or background, of the different scopes of practice of the other specialties of nursing. If this can’t be achieved as an individual, teamwork is necessary by sharing the knowledge you have especially in the workplace.Having that knowledge about vulnerable population is an essential tool to be able to work with patients properly. Sharing that knowledge to your workplace is important in order for them to be able to work competently, especially in the field that I work with where we handle different kinds of patients. In this paper, we will see how the knowledge about the vulnerable population is essential in the workplace, which consists of topics essential to this subject such as the Vulnerable Population: Vulnerable People, Cultural Competence and Resilience, and Social Justice in Nursing.
Vulnerable Population: Vulnerable People
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Understanding the definition of being vulnerable is the first step to be able to work competently with this population. According to the American Journal of Managed Care, members of this “vulnerable population” are those who are at risk for certain health problems. (AJMC, 2006) As the term elaborates, vulnerability is the susceptibility of any group or individual for risks of problems. Home health nurses meet lots of vulnerable patients especially those who have chronic diseases, disabled, and the elderly.
Understanding what their at risk for are essential in order for nurses to plan for prevention interventions. Examples of vulnerable population that home health nurses meet frequently are those who are disabled, have chronic illness, and the elderly. They are also on the top of the list that are high risk for falls, pressure ulcers, pneumonia, DVT, depression, and the list goes on and on. It is important for home health nurses to understand these risks for this vulnerable population to be able to generate prevention interventions.
Cultural Competence and Resilience
Cultural Competence and Resilience is an important quality that should always be carried by a professional nurse. According to Poole, cultural competence is practiced by nurses not only because it is politically appropriate, but it is also an inner sense that being culturally competent is an essential attitude to be able to build that therapeutic relationship with the patient, which promotes better healing environment. (Poole, 1998)
Resilience is the ability of an individual to bounce back from change or difficulty as defined by the Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary (2010). With these two combined, home health nurses can be able to deal with patients with different cultures competently without any difficulty adapting from the great changes that they may experience from different types of patients.
Social Justice in Nursing
Social Justice is known as the ability to provide fair treatment regardless of age, ethnicity, race, economic status, disability, and gender as defined by the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (2008). When this attitude is applied to nursing, it makes a nurse aware that everyone is equal, and therefore should be treated equal. In home health nursing, this equality is sometimes not seen because of the inability of the patient to pay for the right services that is appropriate to his/her condition.
But this is not an excuse for a nurse to neglect the other appropriate care that can be done independently. To show care more than to show how vulnerable they are because of socioeconomic status is more important than having that full coverage of treatment they can get but is not receiving that genuine care that they need for therapeutic relationship and healing. This attitude is important because ever since the nursing profession started, nurses became an advocate to their patients to protect their rights and to encourage them to exercise that power of their rights.
These three important topics are important to understand more deeply in order for the nurse to be able to provide care more effectively especially to those who are included in the vulnerable population. More importantly, knowledge with these topics should be shared to my workplace to expand the knowledge on caring with the vulnerable, especially for home health nurses who most of the time take care of the elderly, disabled, chronically ill, minorities, and the socioeconomically unfortunate.
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