Role of Public Health Practitioner; The Public Practitioner Role, Knowledge, and Skills, Socio-Political Context, and Challenges that Exist.

Role of Public Health Practitioner

This article is about the role of public health practitioner. Study it to gain knowledge on the duties of public health practitioners.

Introduction to the Role of Public Health Practitioner

The author aims to critically examine the role of the public health practitioner in general, taking into account the present socio-political environment, the knowledge and skills required for the job, the issues that face public health practitioners, and the methods.

The writer has picked a project for the second half of this work and will critically evaluate how well it satisfies the requirements for excellent public health. This project will identify and debate public health skills and abilities, as well as health promotion theories and methodologies.

Part 1

The Public Practitioner Role, Knowledge, and Skills

What is the role of public health practitioners?

Though there are various definitions of public health, the writer believes it is reasonable to begin with one. The objective of public health, according to the Public Health Resources Unit (2008), is to “improve health and population welfare; illness prevention and minimization; lengthen valued life and reduce health inequities” (PHRU, 2008).

All of these can be accomplished, according to PHRU, by taking a population-based approach, mobilizing society’s organized efforts, and acting as a public health advocate; enabling people and communities to improve their own health and wellbeing; acting on the social, economic, environmental, and biological determinants of health and wellbeing; protecting against and minimizing the impact of health risks on the population, and ensuring that prevention, treatment, and care are available (PHRU, 2008).

Webster and French (Tones & Tilford, 2001) characterize public health as three aspects: population-level health promotion, epidemiological study, and health professionals educated in medicine. According to Naidoo and Willis (2000, p. 181), public health is defined by various elements and encompasses three domains: population health promotion, health protection (a concern for the prevention of sickness and disease), and health service. improvement-awareness of the various aspects that influence one’s health

Public health practitioners have autonomy in specific areas and are constantly responsible for their own work area while also assisting others in understanding it. Practitioners are more likely to work in a multi-agency and multi-disciplinary environment, whereas general practitioners work as part of a larger team led by someone with a higher level of responsibility (PHRU, 2008).

The Faculty of Public Health (2000) describes a public health strategy that emphasizes community responsibility for improving health and preventing illness; acknowledges the state’s fundamental role, coupled with a concern for the underlying socio-economic and broader determinants of health and disease. This strategy is multidisciplinary, encompassing both quantitative and qualitative methodologies, and promotes collaboration with all people who contribute to population health (FPH, 2000).

Public health is “The science and art of avoiding illness, extending life, and promoting, safeguarding, and enhancing health via the organized efforts of society,” according to Sir Donald Acheson (1988). He also describes the role of planning and evaluating services, as well as disease surveillance and coordination of communicable disease control, with public health practitioners providing epidemiological advice on priority settings. This will include public health practitioner skills such as communication, planning, networking, management, and the use of research-based evidence, according to Naidoo and Willis (1998).

Naidoo and Willis (2001) and Donaldson and Donaldson (2006) define a public health practitioner as a trained person whose job is to make people and the environment healthier, to conduct research, to advocate, and to collaborate with the community on specific projects. The public practitioner is responsible for implementing government-sponsored health initiatives aimed at reducing health disparities in society.

Naidoo and Willis (2008) also state that the health practitioner is guided by three principles: empowerment, participation, equity, and collaborative working, all of which are in agreement with the World Health Organization (WHO, 1986). Reducing health inequalities is a top priority, and all health professionals can help by identifying people with poor health or who are unable to access current health services for a variety of reasons.

The 10-year NHS Plan (DOH, 2000) established a new statutory goal for the NHS to allocate resources to help people live healthier lives. Individual knowledge of body function and ways to prevent illness is increased by public health practitioners, as is competence in using the healthcare system and awareness of political and environmental factors that influence health. Increased community capacity can be built by increasing people’s ability to participate in health promotion.

The government’s White Paper Saving Lives (DOH, 1999) on public health strategy for England’s first response to the Acheson Report set a national agenda for action to reduce health inequalities, including a commitment to action on living standards and tackling poverty, particularly child poverty, pre-school education, employment as a poverty way out, transportation, urban regeneration, crime reduction, and housing improvement for disadvantaged areas, as well as preventative health measures (Hogstedt et al, 2008).

The government’s strategy in “Our Healthier Nation,” published by the Department of Health in 1999a, was to ensure that the public health workforce was knowledgeable and skilled, well-staffed, and resourcefully supplied to handle the major task of implementing health strategies. Health professionals are expected to contribute their knowledge and skills in achieving the goals outlined in the “White Paper” (DOH, 1999).

They are also expected to; act as leaders who are knowledgeable and equipped to manage strategic change and collaborate with other agencies, focus on health promotion for community development, familiarize themselves with public concepts, and using evidence to guide work where appropriate are all skills that public health practitioners possess.

Socio-Political Context

According to Donaldson and Donaldson (2006), there were serious failures in the standards of care provided in public health in the United Kingdom in the 1980s. According to McKnight (1998), communities were previously seen as passive recipients of services, and service users were not valued (Gorin and Arnold, 1998).

According to Naidoo and Willis (1998, p. 9), modern public health recognizes the importance of living conditions in promoting health, as well as action on health inequalities, physical and social regeneration of neighborhoods, and the development of healthy public policies in the areas of food, transportation, and the workplace.

There were insufficient hospital beds, workers, structures, and equipment in the public health system (Tones and Tilford, 2006). The public health movement began with the noble goal of educating the public about good health, according to Naidoo and Willis (2001).

Public health personnel were hired to routinely broadcast health information on pollution protections under the Public Health Legislation of 1848. It was highlighted that sanitary reform was on the increase, with municipal governments focused on environmental concerns.

The National Health Service and Community Care Act of 1990 was enacted, and it was a key piece of public health legislation that changed the way health services were given, including the widespread closure of health care facilities and the placement of patients in community care (Donaldson and Donaldson, 2006).

The launch of the “Health of the Nation” (1992) plan, according to Naidoo and Willis (2006), addressed five important areas, including coronary heart disease, cancer, mental health, sexual health, and accidents. However, Donaldson and Donaldson (2006) pointed out that throughout the “Personal Hygiene” period, the leading causes of mortality and disability switched from infections to chronic illnesses including heart disease, stroke, cancer, respiratory illness, and accidents, all of which have a lifestyle component.

Another function of a public health practitioner is to promote and safeguard the health and well-being of people and the general public by preventing the spread of infectious illnesses and providing protection from chemical radiation and other dangers. Stopping smoking, improving diet, and increasing physical activity may all help to improve health and lower the burden of illnesses including obesity, coronary heart disease, and cancer. According to Naidoo and Wills (2001), the public health practitioner’s intervention was health education with a focus on individual behavior. Housing, sanitation, potable water, and food were all addressed in the 1994 Public Health Act.

According to Ewles and Simnet (2001), the New Labour Party introduced public health in 1997, following the same principles as the World Health Organization and adopting policies similar to the Jakarta (1997) declaration, with an emphasis on infrastructure and investment and the empowerment of service users to make informed decisions.

In 1997, the Minister of Public Health was appointed (Donaldson and Donaldson, 2006), which led to the establishment of the Health Development Agency in 1998, with the goal of maintaining and disseminating evidence-based health improvement, advising on public health and health promotion standards, and carrying out campaigns, as well as the establishment of public health observatories linked to universities to monitor health and highlight areas of action.

According to Naidoo and Willis (2000, p. 139), the New Labour government established a Minister for Public Health in 1997, tasked with coordinating health policy across sectors and highlighting the impact of various policies. In ‘The New NHS-Modern, Dependable’ (DoH, 1997), new reforms were introduced with the goal of replacing the internal market with integrated care led by primary care groups of General Practitioners and community nurses who are responsible for commissioning and providing health care services for their local population.

The New Public Health was established emphasizing health promotion and education utilizing the “bottom-up” approach and focused on public health rather than acute care. Tones and Tilford (2001) reference the Acheson inquiry, which highlighted concerns about major disparities in health, claiming that the poorest people in society are sicker and die sooner, leading to the Green Paper (2003), which tries to minimize health inequalities. In terms of health disparities, the study prioritized three areas: an examination of all relevant policies, such as the health of families with children, and continued reduction of economic inequalities and poverty.

The Department of Health (2003) Tackling Health Inequities’ 3-year initiative was put up to fight health inequalities. It included four topics: assisting families in breaking the cycle of poverty, involving communities and people to guarantee relevance, responsiveness, and sustainability, avoiding sickness and delivering appropriate treatment and care, and tackling the underlying health determinants.

Tones and Tilford (2001) also mention the Labour government’s reform of the NHS to establish a health care appropriate for the demands of 21st-century Britain, one that is better, quicker, and more convenient for patients, and one that is fair and free to everyone.

A number of steps were implemented to enhance the quality of life in blighted neighborhoods, including a variety of policies aimed at achieving excellent housing for everybody. In order to safeguard and address the needs of the most vulnerable individuals, New Labour established a strategy of providing excellent housing in conjunction with the private sector (Naidoo and Willis) (2001).

Challenges that Exist

What are the challenges that exist in the public health sector?

The government’s present economic predicament, which might make it difficult to get funds, is one of the challenges that exists in the public health sector. The lack of defined standards for public health practice, as well as a lack of clear accountability for health improvement, are other challenges. Failure to understand or value the work of public health professionals can undermine their effectiveness, generate a defensive culture, and negatively affect their morale.

A limited number of eligible applicants; sub-optimal working arrangements with local authorities manifesting in lack of consistency of local community plans and health plans; shortage of some technical skills, such as needs assessment, analysis and interpretation of information, critical appraisal, and implementation skills.

The insufficiency of health, as opposed to health care information systems and surveillance systems for communicable and non-communicable diseases, are among the main difficulties. Another issue is the difficulty in quickly obtaining public health evidence in usable form; duplication of effort; and marshaling epidemiological data and evidence of health program efficacy.

Finally, there is a lack of milestones by which to judge achievement, as well as little collaboration between academic and public health care departments, as well as insufficient pooling of resources and experience between Health Boards and the NHS and other organizations (Review of the Public Health Function in Scotland, 2000).

Part 2

Health Initiative (Sure Start)

The author has chosen to concentrate on Sure Start, a government initiative that aims to provide every child with the greatest possible start in life by bringing together early education, daycare, health, and family support. The Early Years, Extended Schools, and Special Needs Groups are in charge of implementing Sure Start under the Department for Children, Schools, and Families.

In the mid-1990s, Britain had the highest adolescent pregnancy rate in Europe, necessitating health promotion (UNICEF, 2001). In the United Kingdom, the Child Act of 2004 establishes the legal framework for children’s services as outlined in the government’s Green Paper of 2003.

Every Child Matters is the government’s approach to children and young people’s well-being, with the goal of providing all children with the assistance they need to be healthy, remain safe, enjoy and thrive, contribute positively, and attain economic well-being, in accordance with the Ottawa Charter.

The Children’s Plan (2007) was subsequently released, with a ten-year plan aimed at improving educational results for children, improving children’s health, reducing youth offending rates, and eliminating child poverty by 2020. (DCFS, 2007).

To attain improved health, health promotion relies on tangible and successful community action in identifying priorities, making choices, creating strategies, and executing them (Ottawa Charter, 1986). As a result, the government sought to provide every child the greatest possible start by combining early education, daycare, health, and family assistance via Sure Start (Asthana and Halliday, 2006).

Sure Start is a population-based public health approach that focuses on preventing disease by teaching mothers how to breastfeed their children. It avoids a “lifestyles” focus and the marginalization of socioeconomic and environmental influences on health, which is in line with Saving Lives: Our Healthier Nation (1999).

The Department for Education and Skills (2000) established Sure Start’s core aims, targets, and initiatives in their guidance document at the start of the program (DES, 2000, pp. 1-2), which were to improve health by providing access to appropriate healthcare, enable informed decisions about whether or not to continue a pregnancy, and support teenage parents in child care.

Ewles (2006) agrees with the government’s response to the Acheson report (1998) in Tackling Health Inequalities that there is evidence to support the use of behavior modification in combination with improvements in care for vulnerable children and levels of activities included in pre and after birth. Beattie (1991) sees this as an objective fact of empowerment based on the actual situation at the community level.

Sure Start seems to be in accordance with Bradshaw’s (1972) taxonomy of health and social requirements by promoting and safeguarding the health of pregnant and parenting young moms and their children. Sure Start has identified teen parenting as both a cause and a result of social exclusion (Social Exclusion Unit, 1999), and it is possible that this is a normative demand.

The Social Exclusion Unit (1999) also indicated issues such as a higher-than-average probability of poverty, unemployment, and isolation. This is in line with the Acheson report (1998), which focuses on health inequities and defines public health as the “art and science of illness prevention and promotion via organized societal initiatives.”

According to McLeod (2001), teenage mothers are more likely than other mothers to experience poverty and social deprivation in their adult lives, though these odds may be due to their deprived status rather than the fact that they became parents early per se (Ermisch and Pevalin, 2003).

According to Bradshaw’s taxonomy, this could be identified as a comparative need that concerns problems that emerge by comparison with others who are not in need. Furthermore, he mentions that one of the most prominent applications of this technique is the comparison of social issues in various places in order to identify which areas are most impoverished.

According to the Social Exclusion Unit (1999), the government policy objective is to promote continuous learning among young people through Sure Start focusing on prevention of conceptions and secondly focusing on supporting teenage mothers primarily by measures to strongly encourage them to complete their education and keep in touch with the jobs market.

This concurs with Naidoo and Willis (2001) who consider public health as working together with others on shared projects, on the other hand, to guarantee that health promotion activities were accomplished. Sure Start employs partnership, education, and participatory techniques. Furthermore, Dugan (1996) urges public health practitioners to employ the participatory method as a procedure that has positive results and improves local talent and capacity, providing flexibility and a structured process for people.

Micklewright (2002) states that seven out of thirteen indicators in the second annual statement on poverty and social exclusion pertaining to children and young people are measurements of education and developing skills. The educational method allows health promoters to interact with the community as partners offering instruction and not taking control but listening and taking their opinion on board.

The educational approach articulated by Naidoo and Willis (2001) provides the community with knowledge, information, and developing skills that would help people to make educated decisions with respect to their health behavior. Community development, on the other hand, aims to empower people to collaborate in order to influence the social, economic, political, and environmental issues that affect them (Naidoo and Willis, 2000).

People needed some control over their living and working conditions, according to the World Health Organization, in order to develop healthy lifestyles (WHO, 1986). Health promotion, according to the Ottawa Charter, is the process of empowering people to take control of and improve their health (WHO, 1986).

Conclusion

Role of Public Health Practitioner
Public Health Nurse Practitioner

To summarize, the role of public health practitioners is to influence and identify factors that promote population health and contribute to the reduction of health inequalities, as well as to be able to influence teams and organizations and to value professional development. Good and effective communication skills are required for health practitioners to work effectively, allowing them to use appropriate verbal and nonverbal communication skills to deliver relevant information to a variety of people.

It is critical to conduct studies that primarily focus on the entire range of public health roles within health practice, with a particular focus on the effects of these roles on public health professionals, as well as the education and training that will be required for these roles.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Role of Public Health Practitioner
Public Health Practitioners

1. What is the main objective of public health?

The objective of public health, according to the Public Health Resources Unit (2008), is to “improve health and population welfare; illness prevention and minimization; lengthen valued life and reduce health inequities” (PHRU, 2008).

2. What do you mean by public health?

Webster and French (Tones & Tilford, 2001) characterize public health as three aspects: population-level health promotion, epidemiological study, and health professionals educated in medicine. According to Naidoo and Willis (2000, p. 181), public health is defined by various elements and encompasses three domains: population health promotion, health protection (a concern for the prevention of sickness and disease), and health service. improvement-awareness of the various aspects that influence one’s health. Public health is “The science and art of avoiding illness, extending life, and promoting, safeguarding, and enhancing health via the organized efforts of society,” according to Sir Donald Acheson (1988).

3. What is the role of public health practitioners?

Naidoo and Willis (2001) and Donaldson and Donaldson (2006) define a public health practitioner as a trained person whose job is to make people and the environment healthier, to conduct research, to advocate, and to collaborate with the community on specific projects. The public practitioner is responsible for implementing government-sponsored health initiatives aimed at reducing health disparities in society.

Role of Public Health Practitioner

 

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