I am writing regarding the May Special Feature, “Nursing and the Sustainable Development Goals: From Nightingale to Now.” Throughout my nursing career, I have held the belief that nurses should be more proactive in preventing illnesses instead of just treating them. As nurses, we are taught to think of our patients in a holistic manner: mind, body, spirit, and environment. My question is, why are we not taught to think of our communities holistically?
Nursing needs to adopt a new model that incorporates public health. Public health should be a central focus of nursing. Nurses must stand up to be leaders in the community and develop activities and educational and wellness programs to prevent diseases and address the 17 Sustainable Development Goals outlined in the article. We can accomplish this by collaborating with other professions within the community.
A university in England implemented a public health improvement theme in its undergraduate nursing program to build a foundation of knowledge and skills to help drive change.1 Public health concepts should be studied in more depth in our nursing programs. Maybe by empowering young nurses with the knowledge needed to promote health, not just treat the sick, we can finally see a major change in disease prevention.
Laura L. Williams, BSN, RN, CVRN-BC
1. Turner-Wilson AL, et al Can nurses rise to the public health challenge? How a novel solution in nurse education can address this contemporary question Nurse Educ Today 2017 57 65–7