Preventing Disease in Communities: The Role of Public Health, the Silent Sentinel
In this Discussion, you will visit a site and interview people who work there about risks for
disease transmission, then report on your findings.
To prepare, select which site you will visit from the following options:
High school nurse’s office
Water treatment plant
Public health department
Create a brief description of your setting, providing some context; for example, how many
patients are seen, size or capacity of the facility as applicable, and/or the location of the office or
Take pictures of the building and surrounding area/neighborhood to provide context. You do not
have to include the interior/s of the building/s or people/clients who may be there.
Then, during your site visit, pose the questions listed in the following chart:
High school nurse
What is the school’s policy on giving students advice about birth control?
How often do you get requests for information about birth control or how to protect oneself from
How do you track vaccination compliance, and what happens to students who fall out of
Local water treatment plant
Where does your community’s water come from?
Where is it stored?
How often is it tested for purity?
What safeguards are in place to prevent tampering with the water supply?
Local public health department
Does this department have an STD clinic?
In addition to testing, does the department offer treatment of one party or both parties?
What is the most frequently diagnosed STD?
A pediatrician’s office
What is your policy on accepting patients who refuse vaccinations?
What are the most common reasons parents decline vaccinations for their children in this
What is the policy at this office for giving antibiotics to treat viral syndromes?
Now, look at the site you visited through the eyes of the public health nurse (PHN). Imagine you
are the PHN and have been asked to investigate an outbreak at this facility.
What questions would you ask?
What suggestions could you make to avoid a disease outbreak at the facility?
What would your role as a change agent be for any deficiencies you find in your on-site
By Day 3
Post your brief description and pictures of the site you visited. Share the answers you were given
to the questions you posed. Then, respond to the above prompts through the eyes of a PHN
asked to investigate an outbreak at this facility.
Support your response with references from the professional nursing literature.
Note Initial Post: 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).
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