Public health nurses

Public health nurses in Japan

In Japan, “Public Health Nurse” is a title given to “a person under licensure from the Minister of Health, Labour and Welfare to use the title of Public Health Nurse and provide health guidance as a profession.”

Public health nurses are professionals who solve constantly changing health problems (e.g., lifestyle diseases, child abuse, suicide and other mental health issues, pandemic influenza and other infectious diseases, natural disasters, and health disparities) not only by helping affected individuals and their families, but also by applying their knowledge and skills to aid the whole community while determining the source of the problem, the extent of its spread, and its severity.

For this reason, public health nurses tailor interventions to their clients and community to promote the health of all of the various individuals under their care, from infants and young children to elderly adults and from healthy people to people who are sick or have disabilities, as well as the health of the community as a whole. Specific interventions that public health nurses may provide include home visits or health counseling for individuals and their families, health checkups and health education for groups, and training for community organizations. All of these involve the public health nurse personally going out in the community and are community-oriented. Public health nurses also generate considerable social capital (social relationships such as community trust or networks formed by residents or organizations connecting with one another) through these kinds of services.