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In January of 2014, a new healthcare policy which is the ACA (Affordable Care Act of 2010) was created and implemented to open doors as a healthcare marketplace for the low to moderate income population. These individuals who sign up within the marketplace would also be eligible to receive special healthcare tax credits to purchase health insurance. The Affordable Care Act has already helped forty seven million people who lacked health coverage due to financial circumstances finally have the opportunity to see a physician for their medical concerns. (Garfield, Licata, & Young, 2014).
Although this marketplace has in fact helped millions of Americans, the low income population still has ongoing issues with access to quality healthcare due to the following reasons. This government funded program is designed to cover a majority of the elderly and youth under the ages of eighteen where there would be no out of pocket expenses. However, those Americans who do not fit this criterion, for instance, low income eighteen through forty year olds without minor children in the household are left on their own to pay for the expensive insurance premiums, medication, doctor visits, etc. Some employers may offer health insurance to their employees as a benefit, but there is also an increasingly number of employers that do not offer health insurance to their workers to cut down on costs, among other reasons. But there are also many Americans who are not working and this population simply goes about their day to day in pain, allowing medical issues to build up without the appropriate medication to treat it, or worse, self -medicate because they do not have the financial means to purchase a health insurance plan. Although we have discussed a brief overview of the barriers low income individuals face in access to healthcare, we will examine the nursing theories that pertains to this population and how one theory in particular could be applied to address the issue and how the other theory could offer more insight into the matter at hand. Next, we will be discussing two nursing leadership theories and how one leadership theory could be utilized to resolving the problem of low income individuals not receiving healthcare altogether.
Nursing Theory One: Environmental Theory
The first theory which will be discussed is the Environmental Theory by Florence Nightingale. She was one of the first nursing theorists because she was able to observe a direct observation between an individual’s environment and their access to healthcare. This concept is similar to low-income individuals in the 21st century today because a person in poverty is most likely to have an overwhelming amount of health problems compared to an individual within the higher income bracket.
Addressing the Issue
The environmental theory, however, main goal is to focus on the individuals overall environment to achieve the necessary health goals, overcome barriers and to cure any sickness endured by the patient. One example of this could be observed by passing out free birth control to a group of teenage mothers who are currently receiving some sort of public assistance since they are not of age to acquire employment due to their young age, or a nurse who may conduct home well-check visits for newborns of mothers who receives Medicaid through their local county office.
This theory consists of seven particular assumptions which are “a) natural laws b) mankind having the ability to achieve perfection c) nursing is a destiny d) the field of nursing could be considered an art, as well as a science e) nursing has the potential to be achieved through a particular environmental change or altercation f) educational base g) the field of nursing is separate from medicine” ("Nursing Theories," 2013, para. 2). It is emphasized that an individual’s environment must be changed to some degree because it has the ability to affect his or her health. Some of the environmental factors which could in fact affect health is not only the access to quality healthcare, but having clean drinking water, fresh air free from asbestos among other pollutions, clean environments that do not consist of trash and exposure to its toxic smells, etc.
Environmental Theory and Insight
Furthermore, this theory also gives the necessary insight for the nurse to appropriately handle these issues within the low income population. This is mentioned due to the fact that throughout this theory, a nurse is given the opportunity to learn the necessary steps to alter the environment of the low income individual to actually improve their health. Some of these ways could simply mean following the ten concepts (Nightingale’s Canons). These concepts are the “warming, direct sunlight or appropriate light, environmental cleanness, health of houses, personal cleanness, advice, food, variety and observation”("Nursing Theories," 2013, para. 4). Essentially, nursing should always be treated by placing others in the best type of external and internal environment for the promotion of well-being.
Nursing Theory Two: Science of Unitary Human Beings
This theory, science of Unitary Human Beings by Martha Rogers discusses and views nursing as both a particular science and an art form. ("Nursing Theorists," 2011). The Unitary human being and the environment should be treated as the same entity. Any changes throughout the patterns of the human and environmental fields are conducted by the transmission of waves. The field patterns are usually manifested by events which could be observed. This energy field is very crucial for both living individuals and non-living attributes throughout this universe. The theorist Rogers points out that “an individual could be looked at as a unified whole which possesses their own distinctive characteristics from the next individual that could not be seen by the physical eye, described or summarized” (Johnson, 2012). In addition, this theory has eight concepts which are the “openness, energy field, pattern, pan-dimensionality, homeodynamic principles, resonance, helicy, and integrality” ("Nursing Theory," 2013). Furthermore, an individual’s health is based on the various expressions of the life process. So, the particular events of a person’s life play a major factor in his or her health capability. People who come from a low socio-economic background experience many negative events such as worrying about their own safety and that of their family members, lack of food, not enough money, etc brings a significant amount of stress that equals severe health problems.
Leadership Theory One: Servant Leadership
According to the author Northouse, “the servant leadership places themselves into the role of the servant that utilizes the necessary caring principles to focus on the follower needs so that they are able to become more knowledgeable about certain information, autonomous and become like the servants overall” (Northouse, 2012, p. 5). This type of leader has the natural feelings to want to serve others first. The characteristics portrayed within this sort of leadership are awareness, empathy, listening and having the ability to persuade others into shifting their thinking for the greater good. The other person’s needs would always be a number one priority within this sort of leadership and share their power with the followers.
Leadership Theory Two: Authentic Leadership
The authentic leader always gives their followers the most honest and ethical personality traits. Their followers are able to depend on them for the truth within various situations. For instance, an authentic leader will go into an ethnic community and hold workshops on nutrition or may even bring a chef so this population of individuals could learn how to cook healthier and make the best food choices to avoid clogged arteries and high blood pressure. These types of leaders are not about money and having power, but they wear their feelings on their sleeves and the ambition comes from compassion and the internal drive to change their community is from the heart. The authentic leader bases their decisions on their natural abilities, not out of some personal benefit. They constantly strive to build relationships and network to see their community become a better place to live in.
The aspired leadership style to solving the low income population from not having enough access to healthcare is by practicing the authentic leadership. This leader has to be willing to be versatile and adapt to any situation that is given to them. They should not be afraid to admit to their own mistakes and shortcomings while in the midst of adversity. This leader has to focus on these five concepts and apply it to their daily life. These concepts are: “understanding their purpose, practicing positive values for themselves and the community, leading with the heart, establishing connected relationships and demonstrating self-discipline” (Magloff, 2015)
Resolving the Issue (Conclusion)
The authentic leader could eliminate these health disparities by conducting more research and asking the appropriate questions, especially within the sectors of minority’s health like African Americans, Hispanics, etc. The health care provider’s knowledge in these areas could be increased by utilizing continuing education programs so that they are able to effectively maintain and manage the chronic diseases and health ailments that may be endured by these ethnic groups. More doctors and nurses need to have a broader sense of caring for patients of all nationalities, since one cultural group could be afflicted with a disease more so than another racial group (Baldwin, 2013).
Another option to resolving the issue is by informing and discussing the development of policies so that members of all cultural backgrounds could benefit, regardless of socioeconomic background. No matter how much money a patient may have in the bank or who they may have networked with, every human being is entitled to the same quality of healthcare especially when there are airborne contagious conditions and diseases that could spread from one person to the next. This is why it is important for all individuals to have access to quality healthcare. In addition, low income individuals need help with making better personal choices and their overall social environment. This may include their communications with family, friends, doctors and nurses. “Communities should always come to together for the health, safety and well-being of their citizens” (Baldwin, 2013).
Baldwin, D. M. (2013). Disparities in Health and Health Care Focusing Efforts to Eliminate Unequal Burdens. The Online Journal of Issues in Nursing, 8(1). Retrieved from http://www.nursingworld.org/MainMenuCategories/ANAMarketplace/ANAPeriodicals/OJIN/TableofContents/Volume82003/No1Jan2003/DisparitiesinHealthandHealthCare.html
Environmental Theory. (2013). Retrieved from http://www.nursing-theory.org/theories-and-models/nightingale-environment-theory.php
Garfield, R., Licata, R., & Young, K. (2014). The Uninsured at the Starting Line Findings from the 2013 Kaiser Survey of Low Income Americans and the ACA. Retrieved from Kaiser Family Foundation: http://kff.org/uninsured/report/the-uninsured-at-the-starting-line-findings-from-the-2013-kaiser-survey-of-low-income-americans-and-the-aca/
Johnson, A. (2012). Rogers Science of Unitary Human Beings. Journal of Nursing Theories, 34, 89-105.
Magloff, L. (2015). What Is an Authentic Leadership Style? Retrieved from http://smallbusiness.chron.com/authentic-leadership-style-10866.html
Northouse, P. G. (2012). Leadership Theory and Practice (6th ed.). Retrieved from https://books.google.com/books?hl=en&lr=&id=flumBgAAQBAJ&oi=fnd&pg=PP1&dq=Peter+Northouse+servant+leadership+6th+edition&ots=iYQkfq628v&sig=8EyrjUDpFdks1eGPMbPnif2TKvM#v=onepage&q&f=false
Nursing Theories. (2011). Retrieved from http://currentnursing.com/nursing_theory/nursing_theorists.html
Science of Unitary Human Beings. (2013). Retrieved from http://www.nursing-theory.org/theories-and-models/roger-theory-of-unitary-human-beings.php