Nursing is a human practice discipline the core value of which is “care”. The nursing profession has a distinct perspective on individuals, community, environment and health. The understanding of human beings as individuals and as communities is the center of knowledge development in nursing…
In nursing, the word community means a group of people sharing at least a single common characteristic. However, Hitchcock et al (2003) define community as “a little more than large number of individuals”. Generally health is considered to be the absence of disease (Gottlieb, 2012); however the concept of health defined by the World Health Organization (WHO) is “a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.” The community’s role in determining the state of health of a person and health behavior is quite important (Young & Van Niekerk, 2004). For instance, the facilities available in rural and urban settings differ and thus influence the state of well-being and the behavior of the people. Each community has its own culture and in nursing it is crucial to have an understanding of the culture and what makes one community different from the other (Srivastava, 2007). According to Wolgin (2005), a better knowledge and understanding of the cultural differences enables the nurses to provide better and more sensitive care and services. Nursing can be divided into two broad categories; clinical nursing and community health nursing. Community health nursing varies from clinical nursing in the sense that community health focuses on prevention of diseases while clinical nursing aims at restoring the health of the patient or making the expected death as comfortable as possible. The primary goal of community health is to overcome the threats to health before symptoms of pathology become detectable (Muecke, 1984). The community health nursing is concerned about the healthcare of the population as a whole. A clinical nurse focuses on developing a caring relationship that promotes health and healing of an individual in a clinical setting where as the main task of a community health nurse is the identification of health problems, prevention of disease and disability and promotion of health. The community health nurse works in different settings such as schools, homes, business establishments, clinics and offices. Both community health nurses and clinical nurses share common core values, beliefs and assumptions. The beliefs and assumptions help them determine what is right or wrong and thus provide care in a thoughtful and meaningful manner. These beliefs and assumptions guide them that all patients are equal and must have equal access to healthcare facilities. The Core Values of Nursing Although compassionate care is defined as the core of nursing, human dignity, autonomy, integrity, social justice and altruism (Callara, 2008) are the five actual core values of nursing. Human dignity is recognized as the core value of nursing practice with other values either arising from it or working to preserve it. This value signifies the fact that all human beings deserve respect irrespective of their age, gender, ethnic origin, status, religion, political ideology or criminal record. This value therefore recognizes that every individual or community has its inherent values and culture. For instance, some ethnic communities have their own way customs and folk healing practices and therefore the nurse needs to be very careful when introducing western medicine. Autonomy pertains to collaborative decision making and is restricted by ...
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