How Nurses Play a Role in Preventive Care

The rising cost of health care services have made preventative care a more valued service than in the past. Nurses are now required to help patients maintain their health rather than treating diseases and illnesses as they arise.

This care can include regular checkups, screenings and immunizations as well as advice on maintaining a healthy weight and exercising regularly. And because provisions in the Affordable Care Act cover preventative services, it is more economical than in the past.

It’s important that nursing professionals understand the different levels of preventative care, opportunities within the field and how to meet the demand. This guide will help you grasp a growing discipline of the health care industry.

Preventative Care Nursing

The Three Levels of Preventive Care

The practice of preventive care can be divided into three stages. The first is primary prevention, which involves developing strategies to prevent risk factors and unhealthy behaviors. On a group level, this might include delivering educational programs for children and young people on topics like the dangers of tobacco use and underage drinking. On an individual level, nurses involved in primary prevention would teach people the benefits of healthy eating and physical activity, as well as the basics of how to achieve their health goals. These nurses might lead community outreach programs or talk at local schools. This care is usually considered to be public health-related.

The second level of preventive care is identifying people who currently have risk factors for various diseases, such as heart disease or emphysema. This means conducting various screenings and tests as well as providing routine care, like checkups. The goal with this stage is to prevent the actual onset of disease by controlling these risk factors.

The third stage of preventive care practice is to manage illness and disease once it has already occurred so that it does not deteriorate or become worse. This can involve cardiac rehabilitation for patients with heart problems or regular insulin injections for those with Type 2 diabetes. While the level of primary prevention is focused on education, the other two levels of preventative care are clinical, and nurses play a direct role in managing these practices.

Why Nurses?

Because nurses like you complete an extensive clinical education when they earn their RN certification, they are uniquely prepared for the patient-centered approach that is a hallmark of preventive care. You have the unique opportunity to identify and address problems before they begin due to the direct interaction you have with patients in your day-to-day work.

In fact, Affordable Care Act legislation is creating employment for nurses with advanced education: $15 million has been allocated to create nurse-managed care facilities. Because the government is looking to expand access to primary care, you can expect to see an increase in employment for these types of nursing professionals.

Most preventive care job opportunities for nurses are currently related to ambulatory care. This means that you will likely work in clinics, schools and community health centers. Health insurance companies are also looking to hire nurses as case managers. One of the fastest-growing areas of preventive care is in the discipline of women’s health. More women are relying on their OB/GYN or nurse midwife as a primary care provider. You can expect more employment opportunities in this type of physician’s office as demand for women’s preventive services increases.

Meet the Demand With an RN to BSN Degree

The best way to make sure your skills keep pace with the rapidly changing health care industry is by continuing your education with an RN to BSN online degree. Our program provides the ideal opportunity for registered nurses who want to advance their education by earning a BSN in a convenient format that allows them to continue working. It is based on a core body of knowledge that combines the science of nursing and the art of patient care.

At NDC, our liberal arts approach is fundamental to the development of well-rounded nursing professionals that can meet the demands of preventive care in their communities. It serves as an effective framework to solve complex health problems and address the needs of a changing society. We’ll prepare you to work in a variety of preventive care settings, such as hospitals, clinics, schools, public health institutions and other community organizations. You will be ready to protect, promote and optimize the health and wellness of your patients.