Community health nurses are trained to provide care and treatment in the community setting to ensure that all persons across different age and population groups have the tools and resources that are required to provide education, outreach, and treatment to patients regarding issues that are important to public health. In Chicago’s neighborhoods, community health initiatives are of critical importance in ensuring that the people who reside there have the tools and resources that are necessary to preserve their health and wellbeing. Nurses in community health settings administer a variety of services to local residents and provide opportunities for individuals and families to manage their health more effectively. In these areas, nurses play an integral role in shaping the public health environment that impacts Chicago in different ways.
Community health nurses address a variety of issues that affect individuals and families, from children to older adults, thereby creating an environment of learning and health promotion with the intent to improve health within communities. Chicago’s residents receive education regarding health issues such as HIV, pregnancy prevention, cancer and other disease screenings, physical education, and obesity, among others (Yonek & Hasnain-Wynia, 2011). The Chicago Partnership for Health Promotion (CPHP) (2016) also provides community-based education to address issues regarding health promotion and disease prevention, along with nutrition and managing health disparities. This organization encourages “healthy lifestyle messages” to empower residents to improve their nutritional habits and engage in healthy lifestyle choices on a regular basis to improve their health and wellbeing (Chicago Partnership for Health Promotion, 2016). A successful community health strategy will encourage individuals and families to practice improved behaviors and habits that will contribute to improved health outcomes, along with understanding the impact of these interventions on health and wellbeing. Education and open communication are likely to positively impact patients and enable them to make decisions that will positively impact their health and wellbeing in a variety of areas, including lifestyle modifications and healthy eating habits, among others.
It is expected that community health nurses will work in the capacity to implement different types of programs and/or interventions as necessary to meet the needs of the populations that they serve. These programs may provide different resources and tools to patients that they can adapt to their own lives and allow nurses to share their ideas and knowledge regarding different health-related matters. In the Chicago area, an initiative known as Healthy Chicago 2.0, a collaboration between the Chicago Department of Public Health and the Partnership for a Healthy Chicago, recognized the specific community health needs of the residents of 77 different neighborhoods, and these efforts have supported the implementation of goals and strategies in areas that include chronic disease prevention, access to healthcare services, expanding behavioral health initiatives, and improving adolescent health, among 30 goals that involve 82 objectives and 200 different strategies that will aim to provide local residents with the support and guidance that is necessary to meet their health-related needs (Chicago Health Atlas, 2017).
An evaluation of the specific goals and objectives of community health initiatives in Chicago is defined by several indicators that are classified into categories that include access, education, behavioral health, and chronic disease, with specific targets to be made by 2020 (Chicago Health Atlas, 2017). An evaluation of the current health status of Chicago residents is categorized into specific metrics and goals for the 2020 assessment, such as a 5 percent decrease in obesity rates and a 10 percent increase in the number of people who receive behavioral health treatment under different circumstances (Chicago Health Atlas, 2017). These efforts enable community health experts and nurses to administer care and treatment to local residents and provide much-needed education and guidance in a variety of areas that directly impact residents that are likely to make a difference in improving health and wellbeing for this population (Chicago Health Atlas, 2017).
It is also important for community health nurses to establish evaluation strategies in the Chicago area which influence program implementation and impact residents. It is through evaluations that nurses will develop strategies for improving health in Chicago neighborhoods and in recognizing the importance of achieving expectations that will have a positive and lasting impact on local residents. There is a critical need to evaluate the conditions of the community and its people because these will enable public health nurses to make decisions regarding how to best move forward and improve health outcomes for all residents. With the Healthy Chicago 2.0 initiative, evaluating the success of the identified strategies to meet the required objectives is essential to the discovery of successful programs that lead to improved health outcomes, such as a reduction in obesity rates and an increase in health screenings, among other variables (Chicago Health Atlas, 2017).
Community health nurses are responsible for a variety of tasks which impact the health of residents within the Chicago area. Their education and training are critical to their success in the field and have a significant impact on decision-making and health outcomes at the community level. The residents of Chicago depend on community health experts to provide education and outreach to address a variety of health-related issues, and these objectives demonstrate the importance of meeting expectations and satisfying the goals of the city and its neighborhoods to improve community health on a continuous basis to preserve the health and wellbeing of these residents as best as possible.