This essay will debate whether or not that the social determinants of health can help reduce health inequalities within the nursing workforce and the Australian Health Care System. To define the social determinants is “how people are born, how they grow, live, work and age which are influenced by the distribution of money and power”. These social determinants are the main reason for most health inequalities. 1. Inequality refers to the state of being unequal. It implies that the distribution of social resources is concentrated more upon some, than on others, “a difference in health status of the distribution between population groups” 2. In the essay it will discuss how nurses and the AHCS will contribute to reducing the number of health inequalities in rural areas using the social determinants. It will also compare similarities between Australian and Canada on how they address a solution to the health inequalities facing rural and remote areas. Examples will demonstrate how Nurses and the AHCS will influence the diminishing amount of inequalities due to the social determinants.
People in rural and remote communities in rural Australia have been enduring the rising numbers of disease, depopulation, an ageing population and struggling to sustain the services given because of the shortages in the workforce. 3 This causes them to face particular health challenges which are due to their living conditions, isolation from large populations groups, distances from health services and their socio-economic status. 4 Illness or disease are exceptionally more common in rural areas than in urban for example compared with major cities the life expectancy is 7 years lower than normal, also people are more likely to take more risks like smoking, drinking. They also seem to gain illnesses like Asthma, arthritis and bronchitis. 5 The Rural Doctors Association of Australia state that existing policies are not addressing the health care inequalities and significant changes need to be made so they can access a certain level of care. 6
There is an increasing need for nurses with diverse ability’s which is why the collaboration of nurse and practitioners can help reduce costs ( less staff needed due to vast knowledge ) and improve access for care in remote areas which is decreasing the number of health inequalities that exist. 7. Nurses now take a diverse number of jobs for example; first-line primary care, community health and emergency care, often in services without medical practitioners, while also providing a range of restorative, rehabilitative, aged and respite care. 8 In rural areas the nurse can be the only one working, no doctor on site. In these areas nurses are given a wider workload for example driving the ambulance.9. Also the nurse’s vast knowledge on the town’s annual events, the economy and the small population along with their role in the indispensable elements that give power and strength to the quality of care dispensed to the rural population. 10.
The Australian Health Care System in Australian is multifaceted, involving many different funders (e.g. Commonwealth, State and local) and health care providers( e.g. Hospitals, GPs, nurse). 11 To improve the health inequalities in rural and remote places, the Australian health care system agreed with some key ideas. People in the remote communities have the right to use different services which can be influenced by the travel distance, uncertainty of how to access services, also the availability of emergency care, cultural and language barriers and limited knowledge of health issues and health services. Another key theme is the need for the workforce to be expanded. In rural areas there isn’t much attraction for a lot of people to stay there for a long period of time so the workforce numbers are always dwindling reaching a critical level. To bring new workers to the fold the...
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