When establishing a community health clinic, it is important to determine the client population that the clinic will see. There are multiple government and public health agencies that provide this information. If the nurse first examines the data about the local populations, the nurse may then make a better determination about what services the clinic should offer. For instance, if the clinic is in a high geriatric population, the clinic should ensure that the services cater to geriatric patients. It is always important though to ensure that the clinic provides a full range of services for the entire community.
Currently, the United States faces an epidemic of obesity. Obesity carries significant health risks associated with it. These include increased risk of cardiovascular disease, stroke, hypertension and diabetes. Obesity can be considered an indicator when establishing health services. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC, 2014), the national rate of obesity is 34.9%. In the state of Florida, approximately 27% of individuals suffer from obesity. In this manner, the State of Florida has a lower rate than the U.S. However, it still indicates that over one out of every four individuals in the state are obese. As such, obesity is a strong indicator to use. Furthermore, services should be established for this health condition.
Another important indicator in the health of a population is infant mortality. Furthermore, a crucial topic in recent months has become childhood vaccinations. These are two areas that can be examined with regards to health care programs. Infant mortality is inversely proportional to socioeconomic status. Those at the lower end of the socioeconomic ladder are more likely to lose children and infants. The current infant mortality rate is 5.96. However, this rate is often doubled in African-American populations. As such, health centers with a large population of African-Americans should focus on the prevention of infant mortality (National Center for Health Statistics, 2014).
Childhood vaccination rates vary significantly from community to community. Ironically, as the recent measles outbreak has indicated, wealthy white communities often forgo vaccinations for their children. However, on average, the national exemption rate for children is 1.8%. Some states are in excess of 4% (National Center for Health Statistics, 2014). Unfortunately, many of these occur in pockets in the community; this harms the herd immunity.
While there is always room for improvement in the health of Americans, it is important for a nurse to recognize that many countries in the world have a much higher burden of diseases. This is particularly true with regards to infant and child mortality. In the world, pneumonia is the greatest cause of death in children. Diarrheal disease and malaria are other significant causes of death in children, infants and adults. These conditions stem from lack of sanitation and poor control of mosquitoes. The World Health Organization (WHO, 2014) indicates that the U.S. does not have these problems. In children 0-4 years of age, the rate of death from diarrheal diseases is 0.1 per 1,000 deaths. Deaths from malaria, pertussis and measles do not fall on the data, since there are so few of them, if any.
As a result, it is apparent that the U.S. has a tremendously high level of childhood health in the country. It is important to recognize though that anti-vaccination groups may change this, as they have in recent years. Measles was eradicated in the U.S. Pertussis was virtually nonexistent as well. However, due to a drop in childhood immunizations, there has been a return of these childhood diseases. As such, the health clinic should focus on these areas, in particular, educating individuals about the importance of vaccinations in all populations.