The Ethical Foundation of Public Health

Week 6: Social Justice: The Ethical Foundation of Public Health

Lancaster (2016) noted that the ethical foundation of public health is rooted in ideals from the Enlightenment, a period of human history characterized by scientific thought, regard for the individual rights, and concerns for the disadvantaged. It marked a period of time from the 1700s to the mid-1850s during which individuals were freed from medieval thinking and embraced concerns for humanity and promotion of social justice. Social justice is founded in the idea that all persons are entitled to an equal share of societal burdens and benefits (Turnock, 2016). Social justice recognizes that there are definite barriers to equal distribution of benefits and burdens, such as class distinctions, heredity, and discrimination or bias due to, for example, sexual preference, race, or gender (Turnock, 2016). Extending the benefits of physical and behavioral science to those who are burdened unequally by disease and poor health is the overarching goal of public health (Turnock, 2016). According to Powers and Faden (2004), no society can be considered just if some segments of the population are afforded less regard and respect because of their socioeconomic status, race, gender, or sexual orientation. The Institute of Medicine defined the purpose of public health as creating the conditions for people to be healthy, which Powers and Faden (2004) viewed as a direct outcome of social justice.

Nurses play an important role in assuring social justice. Historically, nurses such as Lillian Wald, Mary Brewster, and Florence Nightingale worked tirelessly to assure that the most disadvantaged segments of the population received access to health care. Nurses must continue to be the voice for the underserved to assure access to consistent, efficient, and effective health care (Lancaster, 2016).

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Learning Objectives

Students will:

· Analyze how social justice can bring about a change in society

· Analyze factors contributing to vulnerability of populations and health disparities

· Analyze the nurse’s role in advocating for social justice

· Analyze the nurse’s commitment to the health of vulnerable populations and the elimination of health disparities

· Synthesize practicum experience

Photo Credit: Laflor/E+/Getty Images

Learning Resources

Required Readings

Stanhope, M., & Lancaster, J. (2016). Public health nursing: Population-centered health care in the community (9th ed.). St. Louis, MO: Elsevier.

· Chapter 2, “History of Public Health and Public and Community Health Nursing” (pp. 22–43)

· Chapter 6, “Application of Ethics in the Community” (pp. 121–138)

Document: APA Presentation Template (PowerPoint)

Required Media

Laureate Education (Producer). (2009c). Family, community and population-based care: Vulnerable populations [Video file]. Baltimore, MD: Author.

Note: The approximate length of this media piece is 14 minutes.

Writing Resources and Program Success Tools

Document: AWE Checklist (Level 4000) (Word document)

This checklist will help you self-assess your writing to see if it meets academic writing standards for this course.

Document: BSN Program Top Ten Citations and References (Word document)

Discussion: Advocating for Social Justice

Consider the following topics. In many U.S. communities, low-income populations use the emergency room instead of going to a physician or mid-level provider’s office. They often do not pay the bill for their service, which shifts the cost of their care to other, paying patients at the hospital. This practice drives up the cost of health care, but what else can hospitals do? They have to have a certain amount of income to keep their doors open. Is this fair? What if these sick people remain untreated and infect others? Is this just? Do they deserve care so that they don’t infect others? We talk about a culture of poverty in this country. What does this mean to you? What about those people who seem to bilk or misuse the health care system? Do they deserve care? If so, who should pay for it? Shouldn’t everyone be forced to carry health insurance so that everyone has a pay source? Can we expect people to pull themselves up by their bootstraps?

To prepare for this Discussion, you will need to read the assigned chapters, and then consider the following questions:

· What does social justice mean to you? Is social justice the same as socialized medicine or even communism?

· The notion of social justice is fairness so that everyone can achieve a certain level of health and wellness. After all, the Constitution guarantees everyone the right to pursue happiness. Is the health care system fair?

· If you could wave a magic wand and fix the health care system, what is the first thing you would notice indicating that it had changed? Or, in your opinion, do you think it needs to be changed at all?

By Day 3

Post your response to this Discussion.

Support your response with references from the professional nursing literature.

Notes Initial Post: This should be a 3-paragraph (at least 350 words) response. Be sure to use evidence from the readings and include in-text citations. Utilize essay-level writing practice and skills, including the use of transitional material and organizational frames. Avoid quotes; paraphrase to incorporate evidence into your own writing. A reference list is required. Use the most current evidence (usually ≤ 5 years old).

By Day 7

Read two or more of your colleagues’ postings from the Discussion question.

Respond to at least two colleagues. Your responses should be substantial and should contribute to the Discussion. Support with evidence, if indicated.

Submission and Grading Information

Grading Criteria

To access your rubric:

Week 6 Discussion Rubric

Post by Day 3 and Respond by Day 7

To participate in this Discussion:

Week 6 Discussion

Practicum: Presentations

Overview: This week, you will present your voice-over PowerPoint presentation to the class incorporating the feedback you received from the presentation to community members in Week 5.

Practicum Discussion: Post your final voice-over PowerPoint presentation for your group mates and Instructor to review. 

Please discuss the following questions in your Practicum Discussion:

· How does this project fulfill one arm of the mission of public health: social justice?

· How does it contribute to social change?

· Discuss your role as an advocate and health care leader in promoting positive social change as a scholar-practitioner to improve the health of vulnerable populations in your community.

By Day 3

Post your response to this Discussion.

Support your response with references from the professional nursing literature.

By Day 7

Read two or more of your colleagues’ postings from the Discussion question. As a community of practice, give each other specific feedback, including what you have learned, what was well done, what is unclear, and any other helpful suggestions.

Respond to at least two colleagues. Your responses should be substantial and should contribute ideas, tools, alternate points of view, resources, and information related to identified health problems.

For all posts, be sure to use evidence from the readings and include in-text citations. Avoid quotes; paraphrase to incorporate evidence into your own writing. A reference list is required. Use the most current evidence (usually ≤ 5 years old).

Submission and Grading Information

Grading Criteria

To access your rubric:

Week 6 Practicum Discussion Rubric

Post by Day 3 and Respond by Day 7

To participate in this Group Discussion:

Groups

By Day 3

Your presentation also needs to be submitted to the Week 6 Assignment link.

Your Assignment is a PowerPoint presentation that summarizes your Population-Based Nursing Care Plan Project. Include a minimum of 7 slides (15 maximum) and the information as presented in the weekly Practicum Discussions.

Submission and Grading Information

To submit your completed Assignment for review and grading, do the following:

· Please save your Assignment using the naming convention “WK6Assgn+last name+first initial.(extension)” as the name.

· Click the Week 6 Practicum PowerPoint Rubric to review the Grading Criteria for the Assignment.

· Click the Week 6 Assignment link. You will also be able to “View Rubric” for grading criteria from this area.

· Next, from the Attach File area, click on the Browse My Computer button. Find the document you saved as “WK6Assgn+last name+first initial.(extension)” and click Open.

· If applicable: From the Plagiarism Tools area, click the checkbox for I agree to submit my paper(s) to the Global Reference Database.

· Click on the Submit button to complete your submission.

Grading Criteria

To access your rubric:

Week 6 Assignment Rubric

Check Your Assignment Draft for Authenticity

To check your Assignment draft for authenticity:

Submit your Week 6 Assignment draft, and review the originality report.

Submit Your Assignment by Day 3

To submit your Assignment:

Week 6 Assignment

Week in Review

This week, you analyzed the commitment of nurses to health and factors that contribute to vulnerability of populations and health disparities. You explored how social justice brings about change in society and the nurse’s role in advocating for social justice. You also synthesized your practicum experience.

Congratulations! After you have finished all of the assignments for this week, you have completed the course. Please submit your Course Evaluation by Day 7.

 
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