International Council of Nurses

Non-traditional structures of other families include those composed of partners of the same sex who have entrusted each other to live together. Some newer family structures involve the presence of grandparents who provide help in taking care of the grandchildren because the parents are not able to provide sufficient time for their children because of job responsibilities or poor health conditions. In some conditions, the grandparents raise the grandchildren because the parents are not present due to drug addiction, imprisonment or that the parents have abandoned their children.

Family health nursing is a healthcare service that is provided across the life span, involving health promotion, prevention of illness, providing cure and rehabilitation services. The nursing profession has now incorporated changes in its field that would go abreast with the current trends and demands of the societal unit of a family. It is easy for family health nurses to position themselves at the forefront of the family healthcare services by encouraging families to engage in disease prevention, health dissemination and exploration of choices of healthcare services and informed decisions.

Nurses are also at an advantage because they are generally present at schools and workplaces hence they have quick access in recognizing particular individuals or groups that are at risk for specific diseases. Nurses are also involved in screening tests for the early detection of specific disorders as well as offering counseling and other treatment regimens. They also have more chances of interacting with the family as well as other vulnerable groups (WHO Europe, 2001). Family health nursing mainly involves prevention of disease and disability.

Family health nurses are positioned to interact and engage with members of the family and disseminate information related to the various degrees of prevention for specific illnesses. A family health nurse may employ any one of the three levels of prevention. Primary prevention pertains to the administration of a particular preventive treatment so that an individual will not acquire a particular disease or injury. This is exemplified by the administration of immunizations and the suggestion of fitness programs. A program on smoking prevention is also another example of primary prevention.

Secondary prevention generally involves the identification of a family health nurse of a health problem and the provision of a corresponding treatment or action to the family member. This is exemplified by screening for diabetes and the follow-up consultation to avoid further complications of this endocrinological disorder. A tertiary level of prevention typically involves taking measures to avoid accumulation of complications associated to a specific disease as well as disabilities that are involved. For instance, a diabetic patient is educated with regards to his food choices and consumption as well as care of his feet.

The field of family health nursing focuses on prevention of disease through the use of procedures for early detection, diagnosis and treatment. Current trends frequently involve the tertiary level of prevention, especially with regards to elderly patients or members of a family who at some point in time, will require healthcare in their own home. Aside from providing healthcare to elderly patients, family health nurses are also trained to be competent in teaching family members in learning self-care skills which they could provide to their dying elderly relative.

Such capability is important to family members because they will feel more at peace if they know how to provide their elderly relative a peaceful and dignified way of dying. The transformation of healthcare have made healthcare a more affordable service. Healthcare was often regarded as a costly service, yet the provision of this novel field of family health nursing has allotted a way to effectively control the increase in the expenses for healthcare services.

In addition, provision for healthcare has now improved and it has also facilitated the streamlining of costs for healthcare services. More importantly, families can now maximize the healthcare services that are available. The family unit thus benefits much from the establishment of family health nursing as the latest category of nursing because it provides another mode of access of healthcare services and it also provides professional who well understand the dynamics of a family.

References International Council of Nurses (ICN): International Classification for Nursing Practice. Beta. Page 62. World Health Organization (2000): The Family Health Nurse: Context, conceptual framework and curriculum. WHO Regional Office for Europe: Copenhagen. Report No. EUR/OO/5019309/1300074. WHO, Europe (2001): Second Ministerial Conference on Nursing and midwifery in Europe. Report of a WHO Conference, Munich, Germany, 15-17 June 2000. p. 11.

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