After taking this course and observing those in Sentinel City, it is somewhat accurate to what we nurses see on a daily basis. We encounter communities within our city that are more impoverished than others and need more help, but we also encounter patients who are very knowledgeable of their health and try to take care of him or herself. We have encountered eight different subsystems throughout this course; the physical environment, communication, economics, education, health and human services, politics/ government, recreation, and safety/ transportation.
These are subsystems that we come across everyday, but may not observe because we are accustomed to them.
One community I focused on in Sentinel City was Industrial Heights. I focused on this community because it was one that caught my eye due to its impoverishment.
The majority of those who live in Industrial Heights are Hispanics/ Latinos or Black/ African American. The median household income in Industrial Heights is $24,672 and 37.5% of people under the age of 65 do not have health insurance.
The statistics on this community demonstrate a possible lack of education and show it is struggling.
As soon as you enter Industrial Heights you notice graffiti on the buildings, trash and rats on the streets, smoke polluting the air from the industrial factories in the town, cars on fire, etc. One specific population that I believe will struggle and be affected are the teens in this community.
The billboards in this community communicate to the population that eCigarettes are better and that these give you the same buzz as regular cigarettes would, but are not as harmful by the smoke.
There is another billboard that talks about pregnancy and mentions that there are options if you have an unwanted pregnancy as well as people who can help guide you. After viewing how the government communicates with this population you are able to see what this community is struggling with. As a nurse this shows me that the community needs to be educated on how to prevent pregnancy, the risks of smoking cigarettes, how to better their health overall, etc.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) (2018) offers a program called DASH (Division of Adolescent and School Health). This program creates an environment where teens can gain fundamental health knowledge and skills, establish healthy behaviors for a lifetime, connect to health services, and prevent pregnancy or infection of HIV or STDs. DASH believes that the right place to educate these children is at school. Students are at school at least 6 hours a day and are there during their difficult and complicated teenage years; their difficulties can be social, intellectual, developmental, or physical (CDC, 2018). Therefore, schools are a great way to start educating children on specific topics like these. With implementing programs in schools, nurses hope to see a decrease in STDs, HIV, and teen pregnancy in this population since these are common struggles of the community and have been for some time. Education and awareness is key for any age group. However, the younger we begin to educate our youth the better. This will begin to teach them at a young age about disease prevention and ways to live a healthier and better life.
In order to educate teens on changes they can make or preventative measures they can take for a healthier life, we need to ensure that we provide them the resources to do so, such as classes, pamphlets, activities, etc. While observing Sentinel City, there were not many teens walking around the communities, nor were there many activities to engage them with. The only thing that caught my eye was the recreation center, but that was located across town and I did not seem to have many teens present. Each community should have a financially accessible outreach program or recreation center where all young children and teens can meet, feel safe, have fun, and be active. Having something like this in each community is very beneficial for teens not only because is it fun and healthy for them, but it teaches them how to socialize, be creative, and problem solve with other teens, learn about different cultures, and can even aid in keeping them off the street and from getting into trouble. This is an example of something our communities can begin to change or improve on with the goal to better educate and involve their teens.
As nurses, one of our goals is to educate our communities and provide a safe environment for everyone. There are many resources to help teens that are in need, such as DASH, choosemyplate, Planned Parenthood, shelters for those in need, etc. Therefore, we need to ensure that teens are knowledgeable of these resources for them because these can help with preventing disease, unwanted pregnancies, involvement, etc.
Another big issue I observed in Industrial Heights, other than the high rates of STDs, was the cleanliness of it. Not only do we want to create a physically safe environment for those who live in it by decreasing crime, but we also want to make sure that we create a healthy environment for the public in general and one big way to do that is by improving on the cleanliness of the city. In Industrial Heights there was a high amount of pollution in the air and garbage lying on the street, attracting rats and bugs. This creates a big health hazard and opens the community up to unwanted disease and infections. By providing more garbage cans to be put out on the streets and implementing no-smoking-in-public areas and enforcing fees for violators can make a big difference for Industrial Heights. Because of the conditions of some of the communities of Sentinel City, they face major health concerns Sentinel City such as upper respiratory infections, which is why clearing up the air and the overall environment could help health concerns lessen.
As a nurse, I believe the most important thing to do for this community, as primary prevention, is to educate them. Exposing and educating teens on health concerns, like disease, and the prevention of such is very important and beneficial to them, especially when done so at a younger age so that they are better able to lead their lives with health as a top priority. When teaching children and teens about how to live a healthier life at a young age they are more likely to continue to do so as they get older. For secondary prevention, we need to make sure we provide health screens to teens, such as STD checks and making sure that they up to date with their vaccinations is very important. By doing so, this can prevent disease and prevent certain diseases from becoming chronic. For tertiary prevention, making sure that we teach teen about certain signs and symptoms to common diseases is important, which can help us help them. Also teaching them the importance of keeping their environment clean and how it will benefit them is also important.
Children and teens are our future and the younger we are able to educate them on disease and prevention and how to live a healthier life the better. According to Healthy People 2020, their goal is to improve health development, safety and well-being of adolescents. There is a lot going on during a teen’s life so making sure that we provide them with resources and support is very important.
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