Community and Public Health Nursing
The importance of the process of extending nursing theories and practices to the community level is to expand the reach and coverage of health care services to the public, most importantly to those individuals who are unable to access these services directly. As substantiated by Lundy, Janes, and Dubuisson (2009) and Sines, Appleby, and Frost (2005), it is also the responsibility of health care practitioners such as nurses to become widely involved in programs and services that constructively aim to endorse or promote desirable health conditions in all levels of society under various circumstances. For this reason, community health nurses establish partnerships with various public and private organizations, profit or non-profit, to extend their services in order to ultimately accomplish the goals and objectives of community and public health nursing under the specifics of the organizational level of community or public service.
You are a teenage girl who has missed her period for three months. You are sexually active. You want a pregnancy test without your parents’ knowledge. You have no money to go to a private doctor. Where can you go? You find out that you are pregnant. What are your options, and which agencies can help you with each of those options?
Planned Parenthood is part of a large organization that operates internationally called the International Planned Parenthood Federation. The organization is based in Brooklyn, New York in the United States but it was able to extend its borders by enlisting the support and services of other affiliates around the world. (Wikimedia Foundation Inc., 2009) Planned Parenthood was established due to the existence of numerous conflicts in the past that have greatly affected the public, from gender inequality to other conflicts rooted from human rights and so on. However, Planned Parenthood was organized primarily due to efforts of concerned parties to resolve crises experienced by women. It was Margaret Sanger who realized the importance of developing an organization that would address issues about contraception or birth control, reproductive health education, and family planning. (Planned Parenthood, 2009)
The now international organization started off as a small clinic in Brooklyn, New York wherein Sanger, together with her family and friend, aimed to advocate for birth control as a choice for women who were then prohibited by the law to utilize contraceptives and practice family planning. As Sanger has learned and observed, many women within the proximity of Brooklyn were poor immigrants who were unable to afford quality health care services and provide decent lives for many children thus the need for birth control and family planning advocacies. Sanger believed that women, being the receptacles or vessels of reproduction and procreation, should be granted with the right or freedom to make decisions and the knowledge to make informed choices especially when it comes to reproduction since uninformed choices and decisions were detrimental to women’s health. (Planned Parenthood, 2009)
At present time, the organization offers various programs and services for individuals experiencing different situations, including teenagers who want to learn more about pregnancy and reproduction, birth control, and such, and determine some available options for them once they learn that they are pregnant. The organization’s eight hundred fifty (850) health care centers in the whole of the United States cater to males, females, and adolescents alike with the primary goal of encouraging family planning and responsible parenthood, as well as endorsing reproductive health care as a priority especially for women. (Planned Parenthood, 2009b)
In specifics, Planned Parenthood offers services for men, women, adolescents, and homosexuals, bisexuals, and transgenders, to prevent unwanted pregnancies, health examinations for the early detection and prevention of cancer and Sexually Transmitted Diseases or STDs, administer abortion services and provide abortion referrals, administer vaccines particularly for Hepatitis and HPV, and educate the organization’s clients about some issues concerning sexual or reproductive health, available options, programs, and services, family planning, birth control and contraception, pregnancy, parenthood, diseases or illnesses transmitted through sexual contact, and the reproductive rights of human beings. (Planned Parenthood, 2009b)
Requirements for eligibility and fees asked from clients vary according to the type of services necessitated. For instance, the administration of the “morning after pill” also called as Emergency Contraception is valued at ten to seventy dollars, while abortion pills are valued from three hundred fifty to six hundred fifty dollars. The organization does not implement strict requirements for eligibility as long as individuals find the need to access reproductive health care services and are well informed about the background and consequences of acquiring such services. However, for individuals who are below eighteen of age, they need to obtain medical advice and prescription from health care providers in health centers or private clinics. Within the organization, it is the valued role of nurses to be able to practically aid in the administration and implementation of the organization’s programs and services, such as the distribution of medicine or pills to individuals with prescription, conducting educational classes for men, women, and adolescents, and so on. (Planned Parenthood, 2009 c and d)
As a means to accomplish the organization’s aim of reaching out to the public, it offers employment opportunities, volunteer positions, and training particularly for individuals who want to be nurse practitioners in the future. This enables the organization to develop its relationship with communities by providing opportunities for individuals from local communities to become involved with community or public health care development. Furthermore, the organization has successfully established local offices in fifty states in the United States as a means to extend its services to all communities in the country. Planned Parenthood successfully sustains the funding and the work force to realize all its goals and objectives by appealing to able sponsors including the foundation established by Bill and Melinda Gates, as well as other large private organizations, establishing partnerships with other community institutions such as Pro-Life, and participating in various fundraisers. (Wikimedia Foundation Inc., 2009)
In addition, Planned Parenthood is able to expand its reach and make individuals conscious and aware of its presence as a valued institution that supports reproductive health care by harnessing the capacity of celebrities and other influential icons in the arts and entertainment industry. (Planned Parenthood, 2009e) Primarily, the organization realizes that one of its most important needs is the involvement of able citizens and organizations in the accomplishment of the goals and objectives of Planned Parenthood. This is because the organization basically operates through the involvement of sponsors and donors who provide financial support to aid in the organization’s administration of its programs and services through the availability of state-of-the-art facilities in all its offices in the country, and the dedication of its employees, volunteers, and partner organizations in their accomplishment of their roles and objectives to meet the mission and vision of Planned Parenthood.
Ultimately, Planned Parenthood is a productive and helpful organization for adolescents mentioned in the scenario because it allows them to first realize that they have options and to make informed decisions. Planned Parenthood reaches out to adolescents because the organization is able to guide them through life initially by providing sexual and reproductive health education, which many teenagers are curious about. Furthermore, the organization understands the mindset of adolescents who are most commonly detached from their families when it comes to consulting about sex and pregnancy. Through Planned Parenthood, adolescents are made aware of the opportunity for them to learn and become responsible, especially when it comes to decision-making without being bothered with the shame or embarrassment of talking with their parents about sex and reproduction issues. For teenagers who experience unwanted pregnancies, Planned Parenthood is a way for them to correct their mistakes and then avoid making another one because they are able to look at their situation with the perspective of having a solution to mend their problems. For these reasons, adolescents as well as all individuals in the community shall be able to maximize the programs and services provided by Planned Parenthood.
Lundy, K. S., Janes, S., and Dubuisson, W. (2009). Community Health Nursing: Caring for the Public’s Health, 2nd Ed. Sudbury, MA: Jones & Bartlett Publishers.
Planned Parenthood. (2009). History & Successes. Retrieved 13 May 2009, from
Planned Parenthood Federation of America Inc. Website: http://www.plannedparenthood.org/about-us/who-we-are/history-and-successes.htm
Planned Parenthood. (2009b). Planned Parenthood at a Glance. Retrieved 13 May
2009, from Planned Parenthood Federation of America Inc. Website: http://www.plannedparenthood.org/about-us/who-we-are/planned-parenthood-glance-5552.htm
Planned Parenthood. (2009c). Emergency Contraception (Morning After Pill).
Retrieved 13 May 2009, from Planned Parenthood Federation of America Inc. Website: http://www.plannedparenthood.org/health-topics/emergency-contraception-morning-after-pill-4363.htm
Planned Parenthood. (2009d). Abortion. Retrieved 13 May 2009, from Planned
Parenthood Federation of America Inc. Website: http://www.plannedparenthood.org/health-topics/abortion-4260.htm
Planned Parenthood. (2009e). Advisory Boards & Initiatives. Retrieved 13 May 2009,
from Planned Parenthood Federation of America Inc. Website: http://www.plannedparenthood.org/about-us/advisory-boards-initiatives-26415.htm
Sines, D., Appleby, F. M., and Frost, M. (2005). Community Health Care Nursing, 3rd Ed. Hoboken, NJ: Wiley-Blackwell.