Update: May 24 2019
The Department's efforts to recruit nurses for Maine's Public Health Nursing (PHN) program continue to pay off, especially in the more rural areas of the State. Currently, PHN's staff is made up of a director, two office associates, six district nurse supervisors, a referral specialist, a patient navigator, an education consultant, 10 PHN Is, and 16 PHN IIs.
Most recently, PHN hired a nurse in Caribou-an area of the state where there is a continued need for skilled nurses. This new hire has nearly 14 years of previous experience as a public health nurse in this region. With this additional team member, district 8 is now staffed with 3 PHNs, allowing the program to expand community and provider education related to opioid misuse and chronic disease and prevention measures for older Mainers. It also provides additional resources to assist with clinics when there is an emergent need within the community.
PHNs were on-site for clinics of this nature just this past week in Caribou to assist with vaccine administration in response to a recently identified case of acute hepatitis A in a food handler. Clinics were held at Northern Light A.R. Gould Hospital and Cary Medical Center. Two PHNs assisted at these clinics on Monday, four PHNs staffed clinics on Tuesday, and four assisted again on Wednesday. PHN continues to coordinate with area healthcare facilities to ensure clinics are effectively serving those affected by this situation.
Finally, this week PHN staff attended the Department's Maternal and Child Health & Substance Exposed Infant Conference. This year's theme, Building Pathways of Hope and Success, focused on identifying strategies that work to improve maternal and child health in Maine. PHNs were joined by other clinicians, medical and social service providers, prevention professionals, public health professionals, behavioral health professionals, addiction treatment providers, and community members from across the State. This conference allowed PHNs to increase their knowledge of social determinants of health; the impacts of substance use during pregnancy and strategies for prevention and supporting recovery; knowledge of trauma-informed care; and knowledge surrounding available resources for the clients they serve.