Naomi Cross, a labor and delivery nurse, developed compassion after experiencing a personal tragedy of child loss. The woman demonstrates patience and kindness in her practice involving care for newborn babies and mothers. Naomi’s resourcefulness/critical thinking is illustrated by her ability to overcome obstacles and find appropriate resources for patients. Moreover, she works as a neonatal bereavement counselor offering psychological support to families who lost their babies. The story of Jason Short demonstrates autonomy characterized by his independence and self-confidence, as he works alone and manages to help the members of his community without any support from other healthcare professionals. Moreover, Jason is resilient because he successfully performs his duty under stress and maintains self-control in mentally challenging situations (Jones, 2013). His leadership characteristics are empathy, effective communication, and influence on the lives of terminally ill people residing in a medically underserved rural community.
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There are three challenges of community health nursing practice that should be considered. First, the lack of governmental support, financial resources, and interdisciplinary collaboration limit the ability of nurses to provide quality care. Second, community health nurses working alone have to develop autonomy and resourcefulness to use limited resources for the benefit of disadvantaged patients. For example, Naomi Cross, Jason Short, and Sister Stephen learned to adapt to the challenging circumstances and proposed their strategies for helping vulnerable community members. Third, community health nurses experience the risks of working in potentially dangerous areas, such as prisons. In the film, Tonia Faust discussed her initial experience of fear and stress while providing care for convicts imprisoned for murder or other violent crimes.
Based on the film, there are three significant advantages of community health nursing practice. The main advantage of community nursing is its ability to reach marginalized populations requiring medical services. For instance, Tonia Faust expresses compassion while providing nursing care and leading a hospice team helping the inmates at the Louisiana State Penitentiary, a maximum-security prison (American Nurses Association, 2016). Another benefit is that community health nursing helps address vulnerabilities caused by multiple factors, like remote locations, inadequate access to healthcare facilities, or the psychological burden of living in a nursing home. Sister Stephen, a nursing director, supports elderly and children with emotional problems through the use of animal therapy in foster homes and assisted living facilities. Finally, community health nursing promotes equal access to healthcare services, compassion, and humility, which are especially important at times of crisis.
Jason Short used to be a truck driver and mechanic who became a home health nurse after he realized his calling to help people in need. He lives in a community located in one of the poorest rural regions in the U.S. His father had cancer and could not receive care from a traditional healthcare provider. As a result of this traumatizing experience, Jason decided to help his community by visiting terminally ill and dying patients in their homes. His compassionate approach and cultural awareness build trust, offer emotional support, and bring hope to critically ill individuals and their families. The research by Henderson et al. (2018) discovered that cultural sensitivity and competence allow community nurses to align care with the individual needs, values, and expectations of patients. Thus, cultural sensitivity is important in the nursing practice because it allows healthcare professionals to build rapport and trust.
The principal takeaway from the documentary is that the goal of the nursing profession is helping patients regardless of their social status, age, gender, criminal record, or health condition. The approach will influence my future nursing practice, as the film helped me realize that even terminally ill people need nursing help and psychological support. The stories of community health nurses show that it is possible to adapt to any complex situation to improve a patient’s well-being. The film suggests that nurses should develop resilience, autonomy, resourcefulness to become the best advocates for vulnerable and disadvantaged patients living in their communities.
American Nurses Foundation. (2016). The American Nurse: Healing America. A reflection guide [PDF document].
Henderson, S., Horne, M., Hills, R., & Kendall, E. (2018). Cultural competence in healthcare in the community: A concept analysis. Health and Social Care, 26(4).
Jones, C. (Director). (2013). The American nurse. Kino Lorber.