Public health revolves around the motto — Prevent, Promote, Protect the health of all population groups making sure the community is healthy and safe. Public health nursing is an integral component of the overall public health system.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, the Meigs County Health Department (MCHD) and its public health nursing staff have been put to the test. Public health nursing has done its best to prevent the spread of the virus; promote infection control; and protect the public with education and administration of vaccines.
COVID 19 has changed many things in all facets of the overall nursing world. MCHD nurses have worked with its external nursing partners to track COVID cases within the communities, schools, businesses and other stakeholder groups it serves by providing education about new concerns associated with the virus including, but not limited to how to prevent the spread of the disease and vaccinating stakeholders.
Even though it may seem that COVID -19 has been the big focus for the MCHD, there still are many other duties and services that are being offered. Adult services include pregnancy testing, blood pressure checks, HIV/AIDS and Hep C testing, tobacco cessation and referrals for other services as appropriate. There also are available vaccines for adults such as Hep A, Hep B, Varicella, Influenza, Pneumonia, Shingles, Tetanus and MMR.
As for the childhood population, public health nursing collaborates with local schools as needed. Vaccines available to children include MMR, DTaP, Hep B, Hep A, Influenza, Pneumonia, Varicella, HPV, meningitis and many more. The Children with Medical Handicaps (CMH) Program assists with needed services for children who may benefit from it. MCHD nurses perform lice screenings and lead poisoning testing.
So as busy as public health has been during the pandemic, MCHD nurses continue as usual to prevent, promote, protect the health of its constituents. A local tax levy as well as grants funds these services. A renewal one mil levy was passed by voters in November 2020 and allows for funding of general operating expenses of the MCHD.
In conclusion, I invite you to join me in honoring my fellow nurses during National Nurses’ Week (May 6-12) for the sensitivity, perseverance and a commitment to care for others on their worst and best days.
Terri Hoschar, BSN, RN, is a Public Health Nurse at the Meigs County Health Department.