Tag Archives: nursing

McBride Wins S.C. Palmetto Gold Nurse Recognition Award

By Jim Beasley

Congratulations to Catherine (Kate) McBride, RN, MSN, on her selection for the prestigious S.C. Palmetto Gold Nurse Recognition award. She was one of 100 nurses recognized last month at the 15th Palmetto Gold Nurse Recognition and Scholarship Program.

“I am honored to be in the same company as the 114 DHEC public health nurses who were recognized before me with the Palmetto Gold award since this award’s inception 15 years ago,” said McBride. “I enjoy public health nursing because we not only impact the individual patient, but we also seek to positively impact the health of the community as well as the overall healthcare system.”

The South Carolina Nurses Foundation sponsors Palmetto Gold to recognize Registered Nurses in all practice settings in South Carolina who exemplify excellence in nursing practice and commitment to the nursing profession.

McBride, who currently serves as program director for the Pee Dee Public Health Region, began her work as a public health nurse in 2007. During her tenure as program director, nurses within the region have gained independence and increased accountability for individual clinical practice. The Nurse Family Partnership and the Children with Special Healthcare Needs programs have been recognized internally and externally for achieving high service standards.

McBride’s leadership has moved the region forward in quality nursing practice and client-centered customer service.

“I also recognize that this award for me is as much a reflection of the front line nurses working in the Pee Dee Public Health Region,” McBride added. “It is the work they do each day in our clinics and out in the community that truly shines.”

Honoring our nurses during National Nurses Week

By Cassandra Harris

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As National Nurses Week 2015 draws to an end, we celebrate the critical role that South Carolina’s nurses play each and every day in helping to promote and protect the health of our state.

Beginning each year on May 6th and ending on May 12th (Florence Nightingale’s birthday), National Nurses Week recognizes the contributions that nurses and nursing make to our community. At DHEC and nationally, public health nurses primary focus is to promote health and prevent disease for entire population groups.

Here at DHEC, our public health nurses ​focus on the health of the populations we serve. They are found in every community across the state, providing nursing care each and every day.  They work with individuals and families that compose the community, provide care to individuals of all ages in a variety of locations and from a wide spectrum of backgrounds, and work in our clinics, in patient’s homes, in schools, in jails and any other location where they can meet the needs of the individual or their family. Their commitment to improving the health within their communities is recognized within the agency and outside the agency.

Thanks to all of our nurses at DHEC, throughout South Carolina and across our nation, for your continued efforts to improve patient outcomes and ensure quality care.

Raising Awareness about Tuberculosis

By Cassandra Harris

Today is World TB Day, and an opportunity to raise awareness about Tuberculosis (TB) and efforts to prevent and treat this disease. Caused by a germ called Mycobacterium tuberculosis, the TB germ is found primarily in the lungsbut can attack any part of the body.

Understanding TB

Spread through the air from one person to another, ​pulmonary TB can cause symptoms including a bad cough that lasts 3 weeks or longer, pain in the chest, coughing up blood or sputum (phlegm), weakness or fatigue, weight loss, no appetite, chills, fever, and night sweats. When someone who is sick with TB coughs, speaks, laughs, or sneezes, people nearby may breathe TB germs into their lungs. Individuals cannot get TB by shaking someone’s hand, sharing food or drink, touching bed linens or toilet seats, sharing toothbrushes, or kissing.

With this stated, it is important to note that not everyone infected with TB bacteria becomes sick. There are two TB-related conditions: latent TB infection and TB disease (active TB). Without treatment for latent TB infection, approximately 5 to 10% of individuals infected with the germ develop the disease. The remaining 90% of the individuals with latent TB carry the bacteria for a lifetime without developing the disease. People with latent TB infection are not infectious and cannot spread TB bacteria to others.

Pervasive, 1/3 of the people worldwide are infected with TB. In South Carolina, approximately 150,000 are infected with the tuberculosis germ, with 112 active TB cases reported in 2013. The total number of reported active TB cases in South Carolina shrank to just 79 in 2014.

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While there is currently no approved vaccine for TB in the US, the good news is that TB is curable with a prescribed course of antibiotics.

DHEC’s Role In Contact Investigations

As part of our work to protect the public’s health, DHEC routinely conducts contact investigations for various communicable diseases, including TB. When alerted of a potential TB exposure, DHEC will complete a contact investigation, evaluation, and treatment if indicated for any individual that is infected with TB. During a contact investigation, trained health department staff determines which individuals have been exposed by visiting all the environments where the person with TB has been, and evaluates each site to determine how the air was circulated.

Recently, our staff was informed by a medical facility of a possible case of tuberculosis disease involving an individual at Conway High School.  Our staff took immediate action to thoroughly assess and manage the situation. Working closely with school officials, we were able to determine where others could potentially have been exposed, as well as which individuals were possibly exposed, and provide testing accordingly.

Thanks to the hard work of our staff, a total of 134 individuals received testing on March 13, 2015 and March 18, 2015. All of these test results are negative.

With the goal of preventing further exposure and potential spread of illness, we make every effort to test all individuals who were identified as at risk for possible exposure. We greatly appreciate all of the hard work of our staff, members of the school district, and individuals who participated in this contact investigation.

For more information about TB, go to http://www.scdhec.gov/tb.

DHEC Public Health Nurse Scrubs in at Richland Library

By Jamie Shuster

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Catherine Horne, RN

One of the most important aspects of public health is identifying challenges that people face in accessing our health services, and brainstorming new ways to fill these gaps. This month DHEC is excited to announce that Richland County has become only the second county in the nation to employ a Public Health nurse in a public library system, which will help thousands of customers access health services outside of our clinic walls.

Working with Richland Library, DHEC hired a new Public Health nurse, Catherine Horne, RN, to help library customers across the county access accurate health information and connect to local health services. Catherine is based at the library’s downtown headquarters, but will float to all 11 libraries in Richland County as needed.

By placing a Public Health nurse in the library, DHEC will be better able to provide health education and vaccination services to the general public, particularly to low-income and homeless population groups that can be harder to reach. Catherine will also work with library staff to develop health-related programs and education classes, and will serve as a resource for parents to discuss their children’s health issues during library story times.

Thank you to Billy Wiggins, Melissa Barton, and Suzanne Sanders of our Richland County Health Team for working with Richland Library to make this innovative approach to service delivery a reality.

DHEC employees to take action to prevent the flu

By Jamie Shuster

Nasal Mist VaccineWith the start of the new flu season, DHEC is taking proactive measures to prevent the spread of flu in our workplace. Starting October 8, we’ll be offering all DHEC employees a free flu vaccination to help our staff stay healthy this flu season.

New this year, we will be taking the flu vaccine door-to-door, offering employees a quick and convenient way to get their flu vaccine without having to make an appointment or wait in line. A Public Health nurse will come by your office and offer you a flu vaccine in the comfort of your own workspace. If you’re not in when the nurse stops by, you will receive a card with information on when the nurse will return to offer you a vaccine.

In addition to traditional flu shots, we will also be offering the nasal spray vaccine to employees who are eligible. The nasal spray is approved for use in healthy adults under the age of 50. We will also have a few egg-free vaccines set aside for people with a documented egg allergy. Continue reading