The Role of Nursing In The Global Community

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The Role of Nursing In The Global Community

The global community is marked by the interaction of various systems beyond the traditional closed societies. Nurses have played an essential role in the global community both in service and in extending their activities beyond geopolitical borders. Nursing, as a profession, plays an active role in integrating their clinical care with those of the regular citizens, activists, artists, and lawyers among others. This essay explores the foundations of globalization, global health diplomacy and the roles played by nurses in the global community.

Thus, to justify the role of nursing in the global community, one should examine the contribution of nurses in the international and global health. Nurses have various functions in the larger healthcare system. For instance, in the US, they bear the heavy burden of responding demanding and changing health needs posed by globalization. These changes are associated with aspects such as rising cases of obesity, heart disease, cancer, increased longevity, among other epidemiological trends. They also initiate and implement awareness and health promotion activities in responding to these epidemiologic trends (Bradbury-Jones, 2009).

In the north, the nursing programme has included both global and international health concepts. Nevertheless, it the curriculum has mainly emphasised on incorporating clinical concepts like tackling the subject of cultural sensitivity and diversity, the needs of vulnerable groups, evidence-based nursing practice, and responding to the global transmission of infectious diseases.

Nurses have also significantly contributed to solving specific health problems both locally and globally. In response to global health challenges, nurses are required to interpret international health challenges mainly from a clinical viewpoint. Such perspective on clinical health matters emphasizes the problem such as pathogenesis and illness rather than focusing on the socioeconomic or political basis of the issue.

Emphasis on the foundations of global and international health calls for in-depth attention to the politics and economic aspects of health and an appreciation of the structural concepts guiding the social and health matters.


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Medical or clinical personnel, including nurses, must be able to act as concerned citizens, political activists, and human rights campaigners on international and global health matters. To succeed in these roles, nurses, for instance, need to appreciate the political economy of health and globalization together with a firm understanding of the basis of global health international relations and human rights. Several steps have been taken of late internationally to emphasize on the health policy matters while creating awareness on the link between foreign policy and health. As a result, the United Nations General Assembly officially recognized this move in 2009 (Adams, Novotny & Leslie, 2008). Also, member state also ratified their laws on global health policies. For instance, Brazil has considerably stood with the UN member states by championing the WHO Commission on Social Determinants on Health and the conception of global health diplomacy. Furthermore, South American states have fully supported international health undertakings. Even with the challenging socio-political landscape of the 20th century, Brazil and the entire Latin America have initiated strategies for comprehensive health and inclusion. A significant proportion of nurses have played vital roles in these endeavours across South America (Adams, Novotny & Leslie, 2008; Breda, 2009).

As a fairly novel model, global health diplomacy is a multidisciplinary undertaking integrating and amalgamating concepts from “international relations, culture, and politics with medicine and other health sciences to step beyond the disciplinary boundaries of each of these fields” (Adams, Novotny & Leslie, 2008, p.316). This is based on two fundamental objectives of global health diplomacy which are to enhance global health and improve international negotiation, especially for the benefit of the countries less socioeconomic endowment. Thus, it has an avenue for addressing pressing human rights abuses. Nurses are, therefore, important actors in contributing to adherence to human rights and global health diplomacy. Besides engaging in clinical practice in the community, nurses can also take up new duties. For instance, nurses from diverse regions have been known to partner with various healthcare professionals and experts from different fields in improving health care service delivery, international diplomacy, and enhancing human rights (Gagnon & Labonte, 2011). Historically, nurses have been known to serve the community in various ways, particularly in offering good leadership. As noted by Birn (2011), nurses as leaders “examine health in the context of the global order of political and economic power.” (p.107). For instance, South American nurses provide a better example in leading human rights campaigns and an appreciation of the social as global health action.

Thus, nurses from these regions have a significant understanding of the global health endeavours that take into account social justice needs. Regarding the role of nurses in the global community, nurses in South America can be an example of serving as icons for nurses in the US and afar, being the motivation for other nurses to incorporate this conception, and helping their colleagues in developing as global and international human rights campaigners and citizens.