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1.1 Defining Population Health

Population health is a comprehensive approach that considers the impact of various factors on health and involves collaborative efforts among health care professionals, communities, industries, academia, and governmental organizations. Nurses across all settings and specialties are critical advocates for achieving population health goals. Population health takes a proactive approach to addressing the root causes of health problems as a means of prevention. Critical components of public health include outcomes, determinants, disparities, and risk factors. Concepts of upstream, midstream, and downstream approaches to intervention interact and evolve as population health evolves, with upstream interventions offering the widest-reaching health benefits to the population. Population health extends to the global stage, involving global nursing, which aims to promote sustainable planetary health and equity for all individuals.

1.2 Why Population Health Is Important

Promoting health across a population is essential for improving health outcomes for individuals and society. Rather than treating individual illnesses as they arise, population health approaches aim to prevent conditions and manage diseases more effectively when they occur. National health indicators provide a macro-level perspective of a nation’s health status, contributing to a comprehensive understanding of population health. Population health approaches improve cost savings, actualize social benefits, promote equity, facilitate social justice, and improve health outcomes.

1.3 Population-Based Practice in Nursing

A shift toward population health and health promotion in nursing has encouraged collaboration and meaningful integration of systems across the health system. Emphasizing preventive care, early intervention, and chronic disease management is a positive change under a population health paradigm within the entire health care continuum, which includes preventive care, acute care, long-term care, and transitional care. Nurses are driving change in population health and have developed many innovative, proactive care programs. Today, student nurses are expected to achieve competencies relevant to providing care at the population level and leading change that ameliorates upstream factors contributing to poor health outcomes in the United States.

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