Sunday, October 05, 2008

Public Health and Me

Tomorrow, I begin my position as interim Public Health Nurse right here in my own New England hometown. Having never worked in my town (after almost fifteen years of residence in the area), it will be an interesting experience to actually be a "public figure" for the first time.

While my position is indeed interim, I'm coming on board just at the beginning of flu season, and since I'm the individual who literally holds the key to the town's flu vaccine supply, I have an idea I am about to become very popular.

Understandably, everyone is anxious to get their flu shot. The elderly residents of the town see the annual flu clinic and make-up flu clinic as an inalienable right, and the government's push for the majority of Americans to be vaccinated this year has driven this point home quite widely. Town employees, police, EMTs and firefighters also need to be vaccinated quickly and efficiently in order to decrease the likelihood of such essential personnel being sickened over the winter.

With the CDC and other government agencies expecting this year's vaccine to be more effective than last year's, I'm expecting a great deal of interest in and around town vis-a-vis the influenza vaccine. Our clinics will most likely be very busy events, and I'll need to champion that cause and do it well.

Meanwhile, I'll be taking care of daily infectious disease surveillance, TB case management, as well as other sundry responsibilities that I guess I'll figure out tomorrow.

I start this new job knowing that I'm standing on the shoulders of Lillian Wald and other famous nurses who had the vision of actually creating the institution of public health nursing in the first place. It's an honor to enter this new arena of my profession/vocation, and I look forward to growing personally and professionally throughout the process.
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