Community engagement is the collaboration between individuals from the community, hospitals, and stakeholder organizations to identify and address community health-related issues and promote well-being to achieve improved health impacts and outcomes. It engages the community to attain sustainable and long-term relationships, decision-making, implementation, or results. Community engagement is essential in nursing practice as it helps nurses understand the community they serve, including specific health issues affecting them, their root causes, and the resources and assets available to address these issues. The paper will discuss the most effective levels of engagement that nurses can provide to the community.
There are five levels of engagement a nurse can provide the community, which include sharing information, consulting, collaborating, and empowering the community. The first level involves a two-way process involving nurses providing the community with health information, for instance, educating them on the health issues affecting the community and other new health resources and programs available for the community and how they can access them. Also, by sharing information, nurses can identify health issues affecting the community and other health needs for effective planning and intervention. The second level involves consultation and the community in health-related decisions and plans. In these levels, nurses seek and consider the views of the community members on the health services, policies, or programs that directly affect their health and well-being (Drake et al., 2022). The nurses consult and involve the community members to improve their access to available health programs and services and their relationship with the health providers. For instance, when conducting an immunization program, the targeted community members must be consulted and involved directly to create trust, which is essential for the program's success (WHO, 2020).
Another most effective level of engagement is collaboration. This level involves nurses collaborating with the community leaders, members, and other eternal partners such as charity organizations to raise resources and implement strategies to improve the community's health. Collaboration enables priority setting and decision-making based on the community members themselves. The last level of engagement is community empowerment achieved through the active participation of the individuals in the community at all the other levels. At this level, the community members gain power, self-esteem, and confidence to articulate their concerns to the nurses and ensure that appropriate actions are taken to address them. The nurses mobilize community assets, empowering the community to implement interventions and develop systems for self-governance and strategies to improve their health and well-being (WHO, 2020).
In conclusion, each successive level empowers the community to be active participants, having more significant influence and voice in decision-making on nursing practices, programs, and policies affecting them.
Drake, A. K., Perkovic, A., Reeve, C., Alexander, S. M., Nguyen, V. M., & Dunmall, K. M. (2022). Community participation in coastal and marine research and monitoring in Inuit Nunangat: a scoping literature review. FACETS, 7, 891–911. https://doi.org/10.1139/facets-2021-0067
WHO. (2020, October 5). Community engagement: a health promotion guide for universal health coverage in the hands of the people. Www.who.int. https://www.who.int/publications/i/item/9789240010529