To effectively pursue the development of the child-focused resources and services related to parental drug use and the prevention of drug use in children, a community health nurse requires certain competencies. In their systematic review of the literature pertaining to global health and public health, researchers Clark, Raffray, Hendricks, and Gagnon (2016) identify several key competencies. These include epidemiological skills; a sense of social justice; leadership and management skills; promoting access and equity in healthcare; health promotion and illness prevention; community assessments and interventions; knowledge of public health biology; a recognition of environmental health factors; communication skills; and cultural competencies (Clark et al., 2016).
There is also a suggestion in the work of Clark et al. (2016) that research competencies are critical for public health nurses as well. This almost seems self-evident, given the amount of information one must process when seeking to identify needs in the community and developing appropriate interventions and their implementation. All of these competencies enable a community health nurse to address the many different facets of public health (and, according Clark et al., global health as well).
Collaborative partnerships are critical for any type of health organization and type of nursing. According to Kolbe, Allensworth, Potts‐Datema, and White (2015) describe collaborative partnerships as a means to “improve health outcomes,” which is reflected in the “substantial literature” which is intended “to characterize and facilitate such partnerships” (p. 767). Kolbe et al. (2015) cite the Institute of Medicine’s (IOM) report, The Future of the Public’s Health in the 21st Century, and the way it explains “how various sectors of society interactively create the conditions for good or poor health” (p. 767). The IOM report offers a definition of public health which endorses the notion of collaboration: “what we as a society do collectively to assure the conditions in which people can be healthy [emphasis added]” (as cited in Kolbe et al., 2015, p. 767). Consequently, this definition suggests that health organizations and nurses need not limit themselves to other health organizations and nurses, as the definition implies that any element of society could be engaged to improve health conditions for all people.
As such, there are a variety of entities which could be meaningful collaborators for the aforementioned services for children whose parents use drugs. Reaching out to the schools which are already providing substance abuse prevention education would be a good place to start; schools could include the services as part of their education efforts (as in, “if your parents are abusing drugs and you need help, please reach out to these services”). The National Institutes of Health (NIH) would also be a good collaborator, as there is a sub-institute of the NIH known as the National Institute on Drug Abuse for Parents (2012) which aggregates services for children of substance abusers. Some rehabilitation/treatment centers offer family resources as part of the treatment process; these institutions would also be good collaborators.
When it comes to the criteria which should be considered when an intervention is population based, one may look to the definition Morabia and Costanza (2012) offer for public health interventions: they are “intended to shift the risk of entire populations or communities and/or reduce health inequities by focusing on community/society level factors (individual, social, cultural, economic and/or environmental and their interactions” which account for the distribution of risk and illness in society”; these interventions can involve “program, policy and resource distribution approaches in public health and other sectors” (p. 291). This indicates that possible criteria for public health interventions include a clear picture of the population being served (in this case, children of substance abusers); clear evidence of inequity in services (as indicated by research); and consideration of social, cultural, and economic factors.