Public Health: A Nurse’s Perspective


It’s Public Health Nurse week, a week focused on shedding light on the important work of public health nurses throughout America. A public health nurse is charged with examining the choices people make about their health and addressing risk factors. In honor of this week, Huffington Post features an anecdote from a public health nurse, Paula Wilson:

As a Public Health Nurse myself, I’m in the trenches everyday dealing with illnesses that reflects society’s struggle to make healthy choices and create policies that support and sustain them.

In my role as Hypertension Clinical Coordinator for the Home-Based Intervention for African Americans Project at VNSNY, I’m charged with helping patients make healthier choices about the food they eat, the exercise they get (or don’t get), and the way they communicate with their doctors.

You can read Paula’s story here. Her work touches upon some of the important services that will be provided by a regional health department (education about nutrition and physical activity, immunizations, etc.).

To learn more about the effort to establish a Lehigh Valley Health Department, visit RenewLV’s Regional Health Initiative page.

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About Beata Bujalska

Beata Bujalska is the former Campaign Coordinator for Renew Lehigh Valley. She currently lives in Panama, a place that fascinates her due to (among other reasons) its recent development boom.

Posted on May 12, 2010, in Health, Media Coverage and tagged . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. Visiting Nurses have been enormously important to the health of people throughout the country. And home interventions to help people manage disease and prevent acute episodes is a critical piece.

    But I think that public health is not just about interventions, but about identifying threats to health and working to prevent them or at least to help people avoid them.

    One of the biggest such treats today is not hypertension or the ‘swine flu’ — it’s the food from our industrialized food system. It’s nutritionally-deficient, which weakens people’s immune systems. It contains traces of the toxic pesticides and other chemicals used to grow it. Meat and dairy products are often raised with hormones and antibiotics to promote faster growth. Chicken feed often includes traces of arsenic [not enough to kill you, but known to be carcinogenic]. And mega-farms pollute the air and water where they grow the food.

    Another huge threat to health is the toxic pollution from vehicles. In the Lehigh Valley alone, the amount by which pollution from Diesel vehicles exceeds EPA standards is estimated to cause over 50 deaths each year, as well as increased allergies, asthma attacks, bronchial disease, heart disease, and thousands of lost work days.

    Diesel pollution alone is a greater threat to our health than the big H1N1 scare that mobilized everyone. If public health officials are serious about mitigating threats to public health, they need to start speaking out on these threats while helping people learn how to minimize the risks to themselves.

    Peter Crownfield

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