This book represents the lessons learned and the progress made in more than 100 years of population health nursing in the United States. The year 1993 marked the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Henry Street Settlement, the acknowledged beginning of modern American population health nursing. Since then, the work of population health nurses and others has led to better health for individuals, families, and population groups. In this book, I have tried to distill the wisdom of early pioneers and present-day practitioners to guide and direct future generations toward nursing excellence. Locally, nationally, and globally, society is in greater need of population health nursing services than at any time since our beginning. Although expected longevity has increased significantly in the last century, quality of life has not kept pace for a large portion of the world’s population. Previously controlled communicable diseases are resurfacing, and new diseases are emerging to threaten the public’s health. Malnutrition is a fact of life for many people.
Chronic physical and emotional diseases are taking their toll on the lives of large numbers of people. Substance abuse and violence are rampant, and more and more frequently, environmental conditions do not support health. All of these are problems that population health nurses can and do help to solve. Population health nurses must have the depth and breadth of knowledge that allows them to work independently and in conjunction with clients and others to improve the health of the world’s populations. In part, this improvement occurs through care provided to individuals and families, but it must also occur on a larger scale through care provided to communities and population groups. Population and Community Health Nursing, Sixth Edition, provides population health nurses with the knowledge needed to intervene at these levels. This knowledge is theoretically and scientifically sound, yet practical and applicable to society’s changing demands. Nursing Excellence Through Advocacy Like prior editions, this edition focuses on the central facet of population health nursing—advocating for the health of the public. The theoretical concept of advocacy is introduced in Chapter 1 and is based on qualitative research by the author that examines the process of advocacy as it is performed by population health nurses.