In the Field - Community Health Nurses Making A Difference

Submitted by Bobbie D. Bagley, RN, MS, MPH, CPH
Director, City of Nashua DPHCS

Co-Chair NHPHA Nurse's Section

Whether its putting together the program for their first - to be annual - health conference for practitioners or tracking down contacts to a complex infectious disease case, the public health nurses in Nashua have had their work cut out for them this summer.  Theresa Calope, RN, Nurses Photo 1PHN, had an idea “Why don’t we put together a conference for health providers?” and just like that the planning efforts began. Working with state and local partners, the public health nurses of the Division of Public Health and Community Services planned their first Pediatric Health Conference. There were over a hundred attendees representing nurses from community health, school, primary care and public health practice in the audience as well as physicians, advance nurse practitioners, behavioral health providers and others. The premier focus of the agenda was on immunization updates and lead poisoning prevention. The planning committee was able to get local providers, Wendy Wright, ARNP, Dr. Charles Cappetta and Dr. Storo as speakers. 

After coming down from a very successful educational venue, the team was then up and running to respond to increased outreach activities, infectious disease case investigations and coordinating efforts to support community partners in screening for tuberculosis infection. At the time not realizing they would soon be faced with an investigation that would exemplify the importance of the role of the public health nurse in coordinating case investigation with collaborating partners in primary care and community services. The team relied on outreach and rapport established within the community to successfully identify high-risk and vulnerable contacts in a transient population. The local nurses sought technical support from NH DHHS Bureau of Infection Control who responded by coming to Nashua to review the progress of this ongoing case investigation.  Nurses Photo 2

This lean team of nurses that has not cut any slack on their own prevailing efforts of health promotion and disease prevention, also made time to recognize the efforts of others. The PHNs in Nashua made two nominations this year for “TB Heroes” which have been recognized by National TB Programs.  Darlene Morse, RN, MSN, MED, CHES and Dr. Elizabeth Talbot of Dartmouth and DHHS Deputy State Epidemiologist were both recipients of national honors as a result of the nominations!

As members of the NHPHA Nurses Section these nurses are in the field making a difference! If you have not yet joined, take the opportunity to become a member of those dedicated to protecting, preserving and promoting health and mental wellbeing in our communities.

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