Diabetes is a trend that has impacted public health nursing for decades. Its public health impact is so profound that the World Health Organization named it one of the top four priority non-communicable diseases worldwide (WHO, 2016). It is a common disease affecting humanity, regardless of socioeconomic status, religious, and geographical location. The diagnosis rate is projected to almost double in the next 20 years, from 382 million diagnoses worldwide in 2013 to 592 million in 2035 (Galalae,2015). Several factors include poor eating habits and sedentary lifestyles, both of which, left unchecked, can lead to significant weight gain and a high chance of developing type 2 diabetes. Public health nurses will have increase awareness and education, which may include lack of physical activity in schools, the inability of children o be able to walk or bike to school, or lay outside safely. Moreover, the absence of healthy foods in school and lack of access to preventative health care. One recommendation is to “ create, sustain, and expand the health-promoting environment to reduce modifiable risk factors” (WHO, 2016). A large of this entails creating programs that promote healthy food intake, create safe environments for individuals to be physically active in, and reduce tobacco use.
A recent trend in health care that I think will affect public health nursing in the future is the move towards telehealth medicine. The utilization of telehealth medicine was already underway in healthcare; however, the global pandemic gave providers no choice but to kick start this movement in order to continue healthcare services for the population. A barrier that was faced before the pandemic was reimbursement guidelines for telehealth medicine for both primary and specialty care (CDC, 2020). However, once private and public clinics were closed, The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) made a limited-time change for allowable reimbursement for medical visits by expanding their definition to include the telehealth visits. Overall, I view this trend towards telehealth medicine as a positive influence on public health nursing. It will allow for continuity of patient care and can avoid additional negative consequences from delayed preventative, chronic, or routine care (CDC, 2020). Although, there are situations that require in-person visits that are related to urgency or the need for an actual physical exam, there are many chronic conditions that can in fact be handled through technological advancements in medicine and telehealth visits.
Furthermore, having remote access to healthcare services may increase participation for those who are medically or socially vulnerable or who do not have ready access to providers (CDC, 2020). Lastly, another benefit telehealth medicine can have on public health nursing is increasing the engagement in case management for those individuals that have a difficult time accessing care. For example, those who live in rural areas, elderly population and those with limited mobility.