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Health Unit nurses celebrating Nursing Week

SIMCOE, ON, APRIL 27, 2007 – Public Health Nurses at the Haldimand-Norfolk Health Unit will be joining with more than 50,000 other Registered Nurses throughout Ontario in celebrating Nursing Week May 7 to 13.

There are 30 full-time, part-time and casual Public Health Nurses at the Health Unit providing services in such areas as family health, chronic disease and injury prevention, and communicable disease control.

“Although Public Health Nurses only make up about 2.5 per cent of all registered nurses in Ontario, they can be found in every community across the province protecting and promoting the health of populations,” said Health Unit Public Health Nurse Mona Aaltonen.

In addition to focussing on preventative health care, Public Health Nurses “understand that there are underlying social determinants of health that need to be tackled, such as income level, employment, education and accessibility to affordable housing,” she noted.

Joan Baker, a Public Health Nurse with the Health Unit for 26 years, pointed out that public health nursing requires a broad range of skills.

“Our type of nursing requires the ability to synthesize knowledge from public health science, nursing science and the social sciences to effect change at an individual, family and community level. By intervening ‘upstream,’ Public Health Nurses help people change and avoid factors that will interfere with their health now and in the future.”

Some of the programs undertaken by Public Health Nurses at the Health Unit include prenatal health education, breastfeeding education, parenting education and support, healthy growth and development of children, healthy eating, falls prevention, car seat safety, and infectious disease control through education and vaccinations.

Public Health Nurses also serve as community leaders by working with neighbourhood groups, negotiating partnerships and building collaborative initiatives.

“We work in the schools, in clinics, in workplaces, in the home, in every corner of the community,” Baker pointed out. “We interact with virtually every sector of our community, including boards of education, police departments, workplaces, social service agencies and a variety of other community organizations dedicated to improving our community. We bring a health care perspective into the mix.”

Nursing Week is always held during the week in which Florence Nightingale’s May 12 birthday falls. Nightingale, who led a team of female British nurses during the Crimean War of 1854-56 and later established a training school for nurses in England, is considered the founder of the nursing profession.

Media Contact:
Joan Baker, Public Health Nurse
Haldimand-Norfolk Health Unit
905-774-3333 Ext. 222