Brenda’s Story: Passion for public health nursing and a strong advocate for it; push the impact public health nursing plays on society (especially in light of proposed budget cuts that will drastically cut the number of DOH facilities and personnel.
Prominent Quote: Herbert Hoover said, “One good community health nurse will save a dozen policemen.”
- Tell me about your nursing career.
I started my nursing career as a Staff Nurse at Franklin Regional Medical Center. I left hospital nursing to work in Venango County as a supervisor in home health services. I later worked as a nurse manager for a private medical practice before finding my true calling as a public health nurse. I’ve served as a Public Health Nurse, Family Health Nurse Consultant, Cardiovascular Consultant, and Chronic Disease Nurse Supervisor for the PA Department of Health for the past 29 years.
- I understand you are a strong supporter of community. Can you elaborate?
I’ve answered the call for disaster relief by volunteering during the Port-Au-Prince, Haiti, 2011 Earthquake Disaster Relief Effort and serving in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit at Bernard Mevs Hospital in Haiti where I also served as a Nurse Mentor to Haitian Nurses-in-Training. I also served as a public health nurse, a team member, providing community outreach during the 2011 Hurricane Irene Relief Effort.As a public health nurse and community mobilizer, my role is to partner with leaders and community members in addressing the identified and unmet needs. One of which is the establishment of “The Oil City Salvation Army Dental Center” and “The Oil City Salvation Army Dental Satellite- Oil City Senior High School.”
- It is very clear that you believe we need to support communities. How do you see public health fitting into this?
The mission of public health is to fulfill society’s interest in assuring conditions in which people can be healthy. This requires that continuing and emerging threats to the health of the public be successfully countered. Support of a strong local component to the public health system in Pennsylvania is essential to ensure that all citizens are afforded identifiable and realistic access to the benefits of public health protection.Without a strong public health system, the health of the public is threatened. Diseases like Zika, Lyme Disease, Ebola, Measles, TB, HIV/AIDS, umps, Pertussis (Whooping Cough), Influenza, Sexually Transmitted Diseases and a pandemic influenza outbreak as well as many other diseases will pose a greater and more devastating risk. Long term social effects from not addressing issues like Childhood Lead Poisoning will also be increasingly evident. Public Health Nurses equate to Public Safety. Public Health Nurses are a priority and must remain a priority for public protection.As leaders and advocates, public health nurses are proactive on healthcare and social issues. They build effective strategies and affect positive change.
With dedication, compassion, cultural sensitivity, and skill, the public health nurses of Pennsylvania have been contributors in protecting and promoting the health of our citizens at the local level.