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Currently, residing Latinos represent the largest and fastest growing minority population group in the United States. Therefore, there is a need to maximize the nurses’ awareness of Hispanic community culture and constructed perceptions of illness and health. Additionally, the Hispanic community in the U.S. experiences serious health disparities. For instance, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) ranks Hispanic women as a group that is medically underserved and lacks access to preventive health care as well as health education; thus, leading to a substantially higher prevalence of disease when compared to non-Hispanic whites. Amidst these disparities, advanced nurse practitioners (ANPs) play a significant role in improving health outcomes and ensuring that the Hispanic community has an access to health care services. The current paper will explore the general role of advanced nurse professional in the USA public health system with regards to the health of Hispanic community.
Role of Advanced Nurse Practitioner
Advanced Nurse Practitioner is a registered nurse having clinical competencies needed for an expanded practice role, complex decision-making skills, and expert knowledge base (Naylor & Kurtzman, 2010). The ever-changing health care requirements of the Hispanic population together with the challenges it presents continue to develop the role of the nurse in the U.S. (Furlong & Smith, 2005). Some of these developments affecting the role of ANPs include rising costs and incompetent health systems, rising development of new treatments and health technologies, increasing demand by the public, increase occurrence and incidence of enduring conditions thus isolation, and the aging population. Nonetheless, nurses have been responding to the needs pertaining health care and their clients, hence developing and improving their roles (Sheer & Wong, 2008). Advanced Practice Registered Nurses play a fundamental role in the future of health care irrespective of their specialization such as midwife nurse, anesthetist nurse, clinical nurse specialist, and nurse practitioners (Naylor & Kurtzman, 2010). In addition, Advanced Practice Registered Nurses are considered the primary care givers, being on the lead of providing preventative care to the public (Furlong & Smith, 2005). Overall, the role of APRNs is constantly expanding to satisfy the changes occurring in the healthcare sector. Importantly, APRNs are involved in offering preventive care.
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APRN can offer healthcare services to individuals regardless of their age in long term, acute, and ambulatory or/and primary settings (Furlong & Smith, 2005). The APRN practices are shaped by their scope of practice based on the guidelines recognized by the national certifying bodies, and their educational background (Sheer & Wong, 2008). They include American Academy of Nurse Practitioners and American Nurses Credentialing Center (Naylor & Kurtzman, 2010). In the U.S., an APRN is allowed to practice independently to offer a wide range of health care services to the patients from diverse cultural backgrounds and age groups. These health functions include undertaking a sophisticated and comprehensive mental and physical assessment of patients with complex health status (Naylor & Kurtzman, 2010); providing and planning competent and skilled care to meet patient’s social and health care needs involving other appropriate health care team members (Furlong & Smith, 2005); and interpreting results of various investigations and assessments to make a plan, diagnosis, and deliver professional care (Sheer & Wong, 2008). APRNs also work independently although as part of a multi-disciplinary team and implement value-based leadership (Naylor & Kurtzman, 2010). Moreover, the role of APRNs includes prescribing and working with patients to manage their medicines. In addition, ARPNs utilize therapies like cognition behavioral therapy while working with patients with mental health conditions whether associated and/or isolated with a physical longstanding condition (Naylor & Kurtzman, 2010). Besides, APRNs practicing in the U.S. might competently and/or confidently make evidence based decisions, interventions, and manage the risk accompanying these decisions (Furlong & Smith, 2005).
Role of ANP in Hispanic Community Health
It is the ANP’s duty to provide culturally-sensitive care to Hispanic community (Hunt, 2009). The health care practitioners might mediate with the patients of Hispanic community in a culturally sensitive manner like including the community in preventive health care programs, observing culture as an enabler and not resistant force, ensuring pleasant conversation without criticism, and incorporating cultural beliefs into the plans of care. In order to realize the cultural-sensitive care, knowledgeable care givers with Hispanic language, beliefs, customs, and culture are required in their practice locale (Hunt, 2009). The increasing Hispanic population requires active and alert health care practitioners who will ensure easy access to health care services (Furlong & Smith, 2005). Moreover, a nurse entrusted with the care of patients and their families should familiarize the importance and value of delivering culturally appropriate care (Naylor & Kurtzman, 2010). A growing need for nurses to recognize the cultural phenomena of Hispanic population enables culturally competent and appropriate nursing care (Hunt, 2009). However, distinctive variances might occur in a cultural group, thus, acquiring a baseline understanding associated with a specific culture may help a nurse to develop cultural competence (Sheer & Wong, 2008). For instance, when a nurse constantly struggles to efficiently provide care within the cultural context of community, family, and patient through pursuing cultural skills, understanding, knowledge, and awareness, he/she is considered culturally competent (Furlong & Smith, 2005).
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From the discussion, it is evident that ARPNs play an important role in the U.S. healthcare system, especially amidst the developments that are being witnessed in the sector. Their main role entails providing preventive healthcare services to people from diverse cultural backgrounds regardless of their age. With respect to the roles of APRNs in the Hispanic community, they are tasked with offering culturally-sensitive healthcare to this population. It requires nurses to be aware and understand how Hispanic culture affects healthcare delivery and use these aspects to ensure that they deliver care that is culturally appropriate.