The Relevance Of Epidemiology To Nursing Profession.
The term “epidemiology” has become a common word not only in the nursing profession but in the health sector as a whole.
Epidemiology is not just a course; it is fast becoming a discipline! A major area / department in health practice. Epidemiology is a course that the nurse at a graduate level must study. Why is it so? Why do nurses have to stud epidemiology?
The aim of this work is to guide graduate level nursing students to understand the basic concepts of epidemiology while gaining applying skills.
This is to help students expand their knowledge base while enhancing practical application in the profession. In other words, the work aims to provide health care givers especially the nursing students an overview of epidemiology and its relevance to practice in the nursing profession and its relevance to nursing practice.
THE CONCEPT OF EPIDEMIOLOGY TO NURSING
Literally, epidemiology, means “the study of what is upon the people”, which is derived from three greek words; “epi”, meaning “upon, among”, demos, meaning “people, district”, and logso, meaning “study, word, discourse”.
This suggests that it applies only to human population. The term “epidemiology” appears to have direst been used to describe the study of epidemics in 1802 by a Spanish physician Villalba in Epidernioligia Espahola.
The Greek physician Hippocrates is known as the father of medicine, and was the first epidemiologist. In his guest to find a logic to sickness; he examined the relationships between the occurrence of disease and environmental influences.
Hippocrates believed sickness of the human body to be caused by an imbalance of the four humors (air, fire, water and earth atoms). To him, the cure to sickness was to remove or add the humor in question to balance the body. This belief led to the application of bloodletting and dieting in medicine.
Furthermore, he coined the major terms in epidemiology, namely; (a) endemic, referring to diseases usually found in some places but not in others (b) Epidemis; diseases that are seen at some times but not others.
The work of Hippocrates formed the basic framework for other epidemiological researches and work. One of the earliest themes of the origin of disease was that it was primarily the fault of human country.
In the middle of the 16th century, a doctor from to purpose a theory that these very small, unseable particles that cause disease were alive. They were considered to be able to spread by air, multiply by themselves and destroyable by fire. In 1543, he wrote a book “De contagion centagiosis morbi’s, in which he was the first to promoter personal and environmental hygiene to prevent disease.
Another pioneer, Thomas Sydanham (1624 - 1689), was the first to distinguish the fevers of Londoners. John Granule, a haberdashes and amatar statistician published “Natural and political observations, upon the bills of mortality in 1662.
In it, he analyzed the mortality rolls in London before the great plague, presented are one of the first life tables (a table which shows, for each age, what the probability is that a person of that age will die before his or her next birthday), and report time trends for many diseases, new and old. He went further to provide statistical evidence for many theories on disease, and also refuted some widespread ideas on them.
Dr John snow is famous for his investigations into the causes of the 19th century cholera epidemics and is also known as the father of (inodern) epidemiology he began with noticing the significantly higher death rates in two areas supplied by southward company.
His identification of the broad street pump as the cause of the epidemic is considered the classic example of epidemiology.
He ased chlorine in an attempt to clean the water and had the handle removed, thus ending the outbreak. This has been perceived as a major event in the history of public health and regarded as the founding event of the science of epidemiology, as it helped to shape public health policies around the world.
However, Dr snow’s research and preventive measures to avoid further outbreaks were not fully accepted or put into practice until after his death another, important pioneer was a hunganan physician ignaz semmelwels who in 1849 brought down infant mortality at a vinna hospital instituting a disinfection procedure.
His findings were published in 1850 but his work was ill received by his colleagues, who discontinue the procedure. Disinfection did not become widely practiced until British surgeon Joseph Lister discovered antiseptics in 1865.
In the early 20th century, mathematical methods were introduced into epidemiology by Ronald Ross, Janeth Lane-Claypon, Anderson urcry makendrick and dhers.
Another breakthrough was the 1954 publication of the results of British doctors study, led by Richard Doll, and Austin Bradford tlid which cent very strong statistical support to the suspicion that tobacio smoking was linked to cancer.
It is usually said that a man who doesn’t know where he is coming from is a frol. A brief history of the discipline epidemiology has been discussed to help us fully appreciate the trends in the discipline and to better understand its relevance to health practice. So, what then is epidemiology?
What then is epidemiology? There are many definitions of the term “epidemiology” as some people attempted to define it within the context of their own particular interests or need.
Schwabe et al., (1977), defines epidemiology as the study of disease in populations. It thus differs from the more correctional concerned with the study of disease processes in affected individuals. While the objective of the latter is to find cures for diseases in individuals already affected, epidemiology is basically concerned with the reasons why those individuals became diseased in the first place.
Brain (1972) defined epidemiology as the study of all factors which affect disease, the causes of illness and all the conditions associated with incidence. Farmer and miller (1977) defined epidemiology as the discipline concerned with the study of problems of people. Lucas and Gills (1973) defined epidemiology as the study of distribution of disease in human population against the background of their environment.
Epidemiology is the study (or the science of the study) of patterns, causes, and effects of health and disease conditions in defined population. It is the cornerstone of public health, and informs policy decisions and evidence based medicine/health practice by identifying risk factors for disease and targets for preventive medicine.
Preventive medicine consists of measures taken to prevent diseases (or in juries) rather than curing them or treating their symptoms. This is in scope with public health and in contrasts to curative and palliative medicine.
Now, one may ask, what has epidemiology got to do with preventive medicine? According to the World Health Organization Epidemiology is the study of the distribution and determinants of health related states or events (including disease), and the application of this study to the control of diseases and other health problems. Epidemiological studies research.
Epidemiological studies/research includes the following: (1) study design
(2) Collection and statistical analysis of data (3) Interpretation and dissemination of results epidemiology has helped develop methodology used in clinical research (A Branch of medical science that determines the safety and effectiveness of medications diagnostic products and treatment regiments in tended for human use); public health studies and preventive medicine, and to a lesser extent, basic research in the biological sciences.
Epidemiology studies are aimed, where possible at revealing unbiased relationships between exposures such as smoking, biological agents, stress, or chemicals to mortality as morbidity.