Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Getting to Know a Public Health Nurse

Okay, so when I was first approached about doing a blog on what it is to be a Public Health Nurse, I was excited although a little apprehensive. My name is Keara Biller and I have been a Jefferson County Department of Health and Environment Public Health Nurse for a year and a half. I work in the communicable disease control and immunization programs, and my days are never the same.

I started nursing by doing my requisite years as a hospital floor nurse, but I find myself more mentally stimulated by the job I have now. The human body is an amazing thing, and being the daughter of two health professionals exposed me to this fact from a young age. Nursing fit well with my interest in medicine and helping others; I just had to discover what area of nursing would become my niche. As much as I enjoyed working with patients in the hospital setting, I hated the fact that some of their conditions were, to a degree, preventable. For many, a simple lack of education or access to preventive health care created situations that warranted a hospital stay. Every day I met people who didn’t know enough about diet and exercise. Others had no idea that smoking cessation programs exist to help them. And some were hospitalized because of vaccine-preventable diseases like influenza and Hepatitis B.

I remember seeing a framed quote in a doctor’s office when I was very young…. “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” Of course at that time I had no idea what the quote meant, but it has now become the philosophy I apply to many areas of my life. If only we could get everyone to think like that, this nation (and world) might be a much healthier place.

Being a Public Health Nurse is an intriguing job. It truly gives new meaning to the saying “Learn something new every day.”

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Public Health On the Streets

Driving to work this morning, I played a game with my children called "Public Health on the Streets." It's a game I made up to teach my kids a little about public health and how it plays such an important role in our every day lives. Simply put, its a way for me to teach my kids how to be healthier. Everyone gets a turn and everyone gets to explain why what they saw is public health or prevention related. This morning in just 5 minutes we counted over 50 important public health activities here are just a few: bike helmets protecting kids and adults from head injury; sunglasses, preventing eye damage from the sun; seatbelts and carseats for little ones, preventing injury in automobile accidents; walking and running and skipping, getting exercise is essential in protecting our health; eating fruit, a healthy diet with plenty of fruits and vegetables is equally important; flu shots at a grocery store, annual vaccination against the flu prevents the spread of this highly contagious respiratory disease. And the list goes on. Do you see public health in action every day? Have you used a public health service that you would like to tell us about? Do you have a public health story to share?

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

July 22, 2008
Created a new blog site for JCDHE Communications. Nancy and I are hoping to use this site to keep people in the community, as well as in our offices, informed on Public Health matters as they pertain to Jefferson County and it's residents.