Working with the Underserved Populations

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Working With The Underserved Populations
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Table of Contents

  • Introduction
  • The Right to Healthcare for Undeserved Populations
  • The Principles of Working with Undeserved Populations as a Nurse
  • Gaining Enough Knowledge about Undeserved Populations
  • Personal Career Goals
  • Conclusion


I want to start this essay on serving underserved communities with a statement that nursing is considered one of the most demanding as well as one of the most rewarding professions. Nursing is a science and an art that includes qualities and areas of focus such as healing, health promotion, disease prevention, knowledge, education, and advocacy. Serving underserved communities encompasses a great deal of passion in caring for individuals in their most vulnerable state and time of need. To provide the most efficient and holistic nursing care, nurses must possess a vast majority of different qualities in which to promote healing and comfort for patients. To provide such care, a personal philosophy I have developed is best summed up by the phrase “to serve the underserved.” My personal philosophy offers guidance in not only day-to-day practice but throughout all aspects of my life as well. The evolvement of my philosophy through personal beliefs, life experiences, and interactions as well as development is important to understand how I practice and provide adequate and nurturing care to those in need.

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The Right to Healthcare for Undeserved Populations

My decision to become a nurse was deeply rooted in the belief that all individuals deserve access to and deliverance of appropriate healthcare that meets physical, mental, and spiritual needs. From my personal beliefs, practices, and experiences within the nursing profession, I have developed a personal philosophy to guide me in caring for those in need. My personal nursing philosophy focuses on encompassing the four concepts of the nursing metaparadigm (person, environment, health, and nursing) (Bender & Feldman, 2015) with the integration of service and human caring in providing holistic and individualized care for patients especially those from and within vulnerable populations and underserved areas.

In portraying my philosophy of serving the underserved as an APRN, I plan to incorporate Jean Watson’s Theory of Human Caring. Inclusion of my philosophy along with Watson’s theory relates to my future role as an FNP with the conclusion that all patients deserve to be cared for and treated with dignity and respect no matter the difference of beliefs, racial and ethnic backgrounds, cultural practices, or the given circumstances for seeking care. By practicing as an APRN in a rural area, it will be vital to incorporate my personal philosophy in practice to care for members of the community from the very young to the very old. According to DeNisco and Barker (2016), members of rural communities are more likely to be in poor health compared to those in urban areas. Lack of insurance, poverty, weather conditions, transportation issues, and general location contribute to worse health outcomes in these areas (DeNisco & Barker, 2016). Being cognizant of these factors will not change my philosophy but might heighten the awareness of vulnerable patients and the majority of issues I might face in treating those of rural communities. This will make utilizing my philosophy even more vital to future practice. In recognizing these issues and using my philosophy, I will become a better practitioner in caring for and treating patients.

The Principles of Working with Undeserved Populations as a Nurse

Encompassing the four concepts of the nursing metaparadigm within my philosophy is vital in rendering care to patients. The concept of person focuses on the patient as well as the family, caregiver, or community (Bender & Feldman, 2015). The person, according to my philosophy, is the patient, family, or community being treated but more specifically those members of underserved areas or vulnerable populations. Vulnerable populations such as immigrants, the uninsured, children, and the working poor are at an increased risk of health disparities (van Zandt, Sloand, & Wilkins, 2008). In my future practice, working with these populations will take a special set of skills and qualities to recognize and adequately treat individuals. By using my philosophy of serving the underserved and possessing the necessary skills, I will be better prepared in caring for these individuals. The concept of health pertains to an individual’s health-related quality of life along with the physical and social origins of health and illness (Bender & Feldman, 2015). Health encompasses the individual’s health state and the determinants of health which include: economic status, access to appropriate healthcare, social norms and attitudes, physical barriers, education level, and physical environment. Vulnerable populations are often faced with higher instances of being uninsured (van Zandt et al., 2008), increased levels of poverty, lack of access to clean water and nutrient-rich foods, and lower educational levels. Attention to health status and individual determinants of health is important to future practice. The concept of environment pertains to the physical surroundings of the patient and settings where the patient sustains care (Bender & Feldman, 2015). This may include clinics, hospitals, or even personal homes. Consideration of the environment is crucial in utilizing my nursing philosophy because most underserved populations might live in areas incompatible with obtaining positive health status or outcomes. Rural areas usually have smaller community hospitals with staff that may lack the proper training or resources in treating those who are critically ill, thus, relying on transportation to surrounding areas for better healthcare treatment and management. According to Bender and Feldman (2015), the concept of nursing pertains to the interpersonal, instinctive, well-informed, and relational processes between nurses and individuals that improve health outcomes. My background in bedside nursing, patient interaction, and patient education helps in my practice as a future family nurse practitioner.

Gaining Enough Knowledge about Undeserved Populations

As a future practitioner, the knowledge I possess in caring for and treating individuals is imperative to fostering health outcomes especially for the underserved. Knowledge about patients, cultures, health beliefs, practices, and community resources, will prepare me to care for and treat those in my community. I believe to treat those of vulnerable populations, the consideration of personal, social, cultural, spiritual, and environmental factors is important. In my future role as an FNP, responsibilities for diagnosing and treating patients, educating and advocating for patients, and teaching the overall community about better health practices will be a part of my job. With the use of my nursing philosophy, I believe I will be capable to care for those in need in my future practice.

Historically, the nurse practitioner role was established to provide care and minister to those in underserved areas (DeNisco & Barker, 2016). The decision to advance my nursing career by obtaining my master’s degree and becoming licensed as a Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP) is based on my passion for primary care and community health as well as my overall personal belief that all people, especially the underserved, deserve quality healthcare. My background with volunteer work of serving those less fortunate along with family values instilled within me growing up also inspired me to pursue an advanced practice degree. By becoming a nurse practitioner, my goal is to work in a rural community in either a pediatric primary care clinic, public health clinic, or primary care clinic with a focus on serving those most in need.

Personal Career Goals

A current goal of mine is discovering the population I most enjoy caring for, and a future goal of mine is to utilize my nursing philosophy by caring for those with limited access to healthcare and those most in need of medical attention such as the uninsured pediatric population. According to Van Zandt et al. (2008), uninsured children are at an increased risk to go without needed medical care which leads to poorer health outcomes. A future goal of mine is to serve this population for children to live healthier and more fulfilling lives since they are the future of this country. Lastly, another goal of mine is to implement and offer my services during community health events in which individuals will be given access to free medical services. I want to offer free services to at-risk populations to obtain my ideal goals of health promotion and disease prevention within the community I practice.

After obtaining my master’s degree and FNP licensure, I plan to expand my knowledge and abilities by obtaining a post-master’s certificate in pediatric primary care. I hope that by obtaining this, I will be better able to care for this population and enhance my role as an APRN by offering care to all ages. To serve the community I will be practicing in, it will be my duty and responsibility to become acquainted with the different groups, cultures, and people I will be caring for as well as educating myself about cultural health practices, available community resources, and advances in healthcare that will better the lives of those within the community. By implementing these strategies, I hope to deliver quality, holistic and personalized care to all individuals. To support the growth of my career, as well as other APRNs, I plan to become an advocate for removing the restrictions of nurse practitioner practice in the state of Tennessee. According to Ortiz et al. (2018), removing these restrictions and barriers to practice will allow the practitioner to better care for those in underserved areas. Lifting these barriers will aid in fulfilling my nursing philosophy even greater because I will be better able to care for the underserved. Maintaining competencies within my practice will require participation in training and conferences, staying up-to-date with evidence-based practice, and implementing quality and safety improvement practices within my career.


In future APRN practice, I will strive to maintain dignity and respect within every aspect of a patient’s life as well as provide care with consideration to the individual’s personal, spiritual, cultural, and environmental influences. I believe serving those who are sick, those in a vulnerable state of being, and those without adequate access to healthcare services by utilizing my personal nursing philosophy of serving the underserved will foster positive health outcomes and health statuses of individuals and communities I treat. By also utilizing Watson’s Theory of Human Caring in my future practice, I believe I can serve the members of my rural community positively. All humans deserve the right to safe and effective healthcare in which I hope to someday provide in my future practice.

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