South Florida Hospital News
Tuesday December 12, 2017
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May 2013 - Volume 9 - Issue 11

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Community Health Nursing Takes a Special Kind of Nurse

Most people don’t realize how much of an asset nurses are particularly in the community health setting. This practice of nursing is a blend of primary health care and public health nursing. It involves a wide variety of services including the delivery of immunizations and assisting in well child visits. Comprehensive adult care includes diabetic education, preventive screenings, promotion of flu vaccines, wound care, eye exams and much more.
 
But there is an added challenge for those of us who work in the Community Health setting. The population that we serve includes uninsured, low-income with varying levels of education. As a result, we often spend a lot more time educating patients on their conditions and the importance of preventative medicine. It takes patience when explaining something highly technical at a very basic level and even more patience to do it repetitively. Sometimes it is challenging to get across to them the important things we are trying to promote in health care such as mammograms, paps and colonoscopies.
 
It’s a labor of love that at times, even involves going out to the patient’s home to find them when there are critical issues or non-compliance. A lot of our population is very transient and that means we also have big challenges with record keeping and trying to fill in the holes with a patient’s medical history.
 
I have been a community health nurse for over 21 years because I love it. I think nurses in community health have an opportunity to connect with patients at a very special level. Here at Community Health of South Florida, Inc. we are a level 3 patient centered medical home. For me, that means that I have developed a strong rapport with not only the patient, but their entire family. I know of many cases where I have cared for a teenager, she grows up and goes off to college, gets married and then comes back to us to bring her children. I enjoy that kind of reward.
 
If that’s not enough, it really makes me feel good when I see patients who return with nursing degrees to join the workforce right alongside me. As the nursing shortage becomes a gaping wound for all of us in healthcare; we can only hope that we can be strong role models for the younger generation looking for meaningful careers like this one in Community Nursing.

Monica Mizell, Site Manager for Martin Luther King Jr Health Center, Community Health of South Florida, Inc., can be reached at mmizell@chisouthfl.org.

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