Community Nursing: Caring for Entire Populations

Community Nursing: Caring for Entire Populations
Community Nursing: Caring for Entire Populations

Nurses earning their Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree study how communities face numerous challenges to their collective health. Infectious diseases can easily spread unchecked throughout communities of any size.

Vulnerable populations, such as children, the elderly, and the homeless, among others, can face difficulty accessing medical care, receiving health education, and even insurance coverage. The health of children in particular, faces the threat of toxins in the environment (such as lead), violence, and accidental injuries.

Preventable diseases also still place children’s health at risk. What vulnerable groups such as these need is not only resources and care, but advocacy.

The Community Nurse as an Advocate

Community nurses, or public health nurses, work diligently to combat threats to the health of specific populations. Nursing, at its most basic two-word definition, is “patient advocate”.

Advocating for entire populations means that community nurses are often involved in enacting health policies, directing and advocating for change where change is necessary, and engaging in discussion with those whose health may be at risk.

Vulnerable Populations Benefit From Community Nursing

There is a longstanding tradition of the involvement of community nurses with one community population in particular: expectant and new mothers. The nurses involved with the Special

Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children, or the WIC program, ensure that these mothers and children have access to the resources they need to care for themselves and their children.

The WIC nurses also perform well-baby assessments and screenings, provide education on preventing lead poisoning in children, and administer vaccines.

Health education is a key component of empowering individuals to care for themselves and others. Community health nurses often spend a great deal of their efforts educating specific populations within the public about certain health risks that pertain to them.

Nurses may visit high school students to discuss specific health issues and how to prevent them, as well provide education on the dangers of tobacco, alcohol, and drug use. Other populations that greatly benefit from the use of community health nurses are those with HIV and AIDS, and seniors.

Home visits from community nurses help seniors receive the education they need to manage their health conditions and continue living independently.

Community Nursing’s Increasing Role in Healthcare

The job of a community nurse is an important, respected position. Community nursing will play an even larger role as the climate in healthcare shifts from being focused on diagnosing and treating illness to preventing it.

Education is a key component in improving population health. Community nurses identify areas of need in specific populations and develop a plan to help remedy the situation.

Becoming a Community Nurse

Becoming a community nurse typically requires a Bachelor of Science in Nursing, as there is an increased focus in this degree on community health and caring for vulnerable populations such as the elderly, infants, and those with mental illness.

Franciscan Missionaries of Our Lady University’s online Bachelor's of Science in Nursing for RNs (RN to BSN) program provides nurses with a passion for empowering others as well as the knowledge and skills necessary to become a community health nurse.

FranU students take courses in healthcare policy, community health nursing, and leadership principles at their own pace. Each course can be completed 100% online with no mandatory login times or clinical requirements, so students may continue working full-time as they work to advance their nursing education.

Full-time students can complete the entire program in only 12 months and benefit from a dedicated one-on-one student success advisor. Our enrollment advisors are happy to reach out to tell you more about the program, review your previous nursing education and credentials and discuss your career goals with you at any time.

Contact us to find out more about Franciscan Missionaries of Our Lady University’s online RN to BSN program.

Check out our other blog posts The Benefits of Evidence-Based Healthcare Implementation in Nursing Practice and Holistic Nursing Practice: The Importance of Building Rapport.


The Need for Public Health Nurses on the Rise. Nurse Journal.
Kulbok, P. (2013). Public Health Nurses Must Rise to Growing Need.
Meadows, P. (2009). Community Health Nursing. American Journal of Nursing, vol 109.