Community Health Nurse roles.

Community Health Nurses work in many speciality occupations such as child health, school health, policy, management and rural and remote area work!

A Community Child Health Nurse is a specialist Registered Nurse who adopts a Family Partnership approach to supporting parents who care for babies and children aged 0-4yrs. Community Child Health Nurses have a sound knowledge of child health and development and use their skills to provide early identification and referral of developmental concerns. Community Child Health Nurses provide a range of services, including: developmental & health information parents; antenatal and postnatal information and support; breastfeeding support; information and access to immunisation; guidance on early nutrition and all aspects of feeding difficulties;  screening, referral and support for Postnatal Depression (PND) and behavioural management information and guidance such as Triple P groups, Toddler groups and Sleep Matters groups.

 

 

Community School Health Nurses work with school-age children and their families to foster the health, wellbeing and learning potential of each child.  Some nurses are based in high schools and work mainly with adolescents; others visit primary schools to conduct developmental assessments with children just starting school, while other nurses are employed in education support schools caring for children with a range of special needs. Contrary to popular belief, the work of a community school health nurse doesn’t usually involve bandaids or head lice! The focus of community school health nursing is on promoting mental and physical health, identifying and intervening early when health and developmental concerns are detected and providing specialist expertise in child and adolescent health to school staff and families.

In WA Community Health Managers are employed mainly by the Department of Health.  Community health managers supervise a wide range of positions including and not limited to Community Nurses, Aboriginal Health Workers, Clerical Staff and in some rural areas Allied Health Practitioners.  In WA what a community health manager does can vary quite considerably, and is very dependent on the size of the organisation, and it's location in the state.  The more rural you go, the more generic the role and a broader scope of practice is required.   However the role of a community health manager is generally responsible for rostering, recruitment and selection, iprocurement (supply system), Patient Administration System, physical resourcing, financial accountability and program planning.  Not to mention being a counsellor, friend, colleague, negotiator, and the list goes on.  But above all you must have a sense of adventure, be flexible, enthusiastic and a great sense of humour! 

Community Health Nurses who work as Policy Officers develop, implement and evaluate policies and programs to ensure that community health staff are delivering best practice care to their clients.  Policy officer nurses are responsible for sourcing and understanding current research in their areas of responsibility, act as advisors, and work in collaboration with other members of the policy unit. Their role includes liaison with key internal and external stake holders, and representing community health at interagency forums. Community Health Nurses from the clinical area collaborate with policy staff to ensure that policy and procedures are relevant and able to applicable to the service delivery environment, through participating in working groups, pilot studies and research projects.

 

Rural and Remote Community Health Nurses are found from the deserts of the South Australian/Northern Territory border to the coastal plains of the Indian Ocean, from the tropics in the Kimberley to the forests and cool climes of the South West! This nurse may be a lone practitioner or part of a multi-skilled team who relish the challenges of working in rural and remote areas. This nurse has a wide range of skills and will cover Child Health, School Health, Immunisation, Health Promotion and Chronic Disease management, providing one on one support to a new mother with her first baby or assistance to an elderly person managing diabetes. This nurse is not "just" a Community Health Nurse but also a member of the local sports team, theatre group and organising committee for local events! Nurses choose the rural and remote setting for its challenge, variety and the people the Community Health Nurse comes into contact with every day. (Photo © C.A.Vye).