Articles Master of Science in Nursing

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The Role of Nurse Leaders in Health Assessments

Nurse leader with younger nurses

Health assessments are utilized by nurses to evaluate patients’ medical status. During this process, nurses must make certain that patients understand how important health assessments are for their current and future wellbeing. The information collected via health assessments also assists caregiving organizations in improving community health conditions, identifying potential areas of concern within the public health sector and developing health policies which can improve patient outcomes across multiple settings.

Importance of Health Assessments

Health assessments are important for a number of reasons, but two key benefits are that health assessments help health leaders target high-risk conditions specific to their communities and identify early signs of disease when, at first glance, a patient may appear to be healthy. Early identification is beneficial for health care providers, because it helps nurse leaders develop a more accurate understanding of the community that they are serving as well as identify potential causes of a disease afflicting large numbers of the population. As of late, electronic health records have been used to improve health assessment analysis, allowing caregivers to discover hidden trends, share research, identify underserved conditions and evaluate performance. Once assessments are complete, caregivers can leverage collected data to develop key initiatives that will help improve the overall health of the community, such as educating on the dangers of smoking, the importance of wellness plans and effective methods for managing stress.

Role of the Nurse Leader in the Health Assessment Process

Although nurse leaders may occasionally give health assessments, their primary responsibility is to organize and manage the health assessment process as well as the caregivers administering assessments. They may also provide training to younger nurses that lack experience with assessments. Nurse leaders continue their training and leadership throughout the process as they assist their peers with analysis and identification techniques as they sift through data to determine current health concerns and those that may be developing amongst the community. To optimize their efficiency, nurse leaders should expand their comprehension and expertise in the collection and analysis of data and diagnostic formulation, as these skills are important for helping to identify potential health concerns and in managing the health assessment process as a whole.
Upon identifying potential risks, nurse leaders then pursue actions to alleviate the conditions or behaviors afflicting the patients and/or community population. Some of these actions may include following up with patients, developing community presentations on how to minimize health risks, and developing health policies or a community health improvement plan.
As a whole, health assessments have an important role in maintaining and improving individual and community wellbeing. Through health assessments, nurse leaders and the medical community are able to identify potential areas of concern within a specific region. Once risks have been identified, nurse leaders help develop and implement initiatives to maintain and improve the current and future health of their respective communities.

Learn More

Norwich University has been a leader in innovative education since 1819. Through its online programs, Norwich delivers relevant and applicable curricula that allow its students to make a positive impact on their places of work and their communities.
Norwich University’s online Master of Science in Nursing program helps students hone their knowledge and skills to assume leadership positions in nursing administration or nursing education. The program aims to develop students who could take a role in shaping health policy, in educating other nurses and health care professionals, and in providing advanced care to their patients. Norwich’s online nursing program coursework has been developed based on guidelines by the American Association of Colleges of Nursing, and the program is accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education.

Sources:

http://www.ahrq.gov/professionals/prevention-chronic-care/improve/system/health-assessments/health-assessment5.html

http://www.ahrq.gov/sites/default/files/wysiwyg/professionals/education/continuing-ed/moc_ha.pdf?utm_source=INTERACTIVE&utm_medium=WEB&utm_term=3&utm_content=3&utm_campaign=MOCPIV

https://www.cdc.gov/stltpublichealth/cha/assessment.html

February 2017