The World Health Organization and American Nurses Association designated 2020-2021 the “Year of the Nurse and Midwife”. As we all know, for the majority of 2020, the entire world dealt with a devastating pandemic from a novel virus, which has continued into 2021. Nurses have been and continue to be on the front lines of the COVID-19 Pandemic response, including the Public Health Nurses working for Buncombe County HHS.
Throughout this pandemic, in addition to leading COVID-19 pandemic response activities, our Public Health Nurses continue to provide routine public health services to clients –clinical services, school health services, care coordination for mothers and their children, and investigation of many other reportable diseases beyond COVID-19. But did you know there is so much more Public Health Nurses are doing in Buncombe County beyond individual care to promote and protect the health of our community?
Public Health Nurses: Leading population health, well-being, and equity for over a century. Public Health Nurses improve health through social justice, ethics, and quality care to individuals, communities, and populations in the United States. Public Health Nurses work within and for communities, reaching out to disadvantaged and underserved groups across cultural and language groups. The skill set of Public Health Nurses in the 21st century is ideal for advancing a Culture of Health through assessment, communication, collaboration, and knowledge of health care systems and forces driving change. Public Health Nurses have a holistic understanding of physical, mental, emotional and spiritual well-being, and the social and environmental conditions that limit access to health, education, and opportunity. For over a century, Public Health Nurses have used these skills to lead changes that improve health (Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Public Health Nurse Leaders, 2017).
Nurses often have been called superheroes this past year (and they are in my mind), but they also are your coworkers, neighbors, friends, and family members, and they have been experiencing the hardships of this pandemic alongside you. Currently, Public Health Nurses are celebrating hope enthusiastically as they work in partnership with others to get our community vaccinated! Please help me in thanking our Buncombe County Public Health Nurses for the service they provide our community every day by promoting and protecting the health of all citizens.
Ellis Vaughan, DNP, RN
Clinical Service Coordinator/Director of Nursing
Buncombe County Health and Human Services