As this semester comes to a close, I’m realizing I’ve learned a lot more than I originally thought I would. Even though we have years of experience at the Cleveland public schools, working at the Lorain County General Health District introduced me to other responsibilities of the public health nurse. Public health nurses educate, prevent, protect, and advocate not only for individuals but an entire community. I have had the opportunity to participate in Bureau for Children with Medical Handicaps visits, Children Service visits, Adult Health Clinic appointments, newborn visits, and immunization clinics. At first I was very uncomfortable with the idea of walking into someone’s home and being the health “expert.” I kept thinking if I say something wrong they are going to throw me out and I’ll be stranded. I can be quite dramatic. However, every family and member of Lorain County that I came in contact with was very receptive to us and wanted to better their health.
In addition, the Lorain County General Health District offers many other services through their Health Education Department and Environmental Services Department. I am impressed by the amount of services the health department offers in comparison to the amount of members they have on staff. Their small staff does so much for the community.
I learned a lot from working with an agency and working with a partner as well. I have learned the art of negotiation and how to conduct myself in a professional setting. Teamwork is key to being productive and you don’t always have to be in control. In regards to research, sometimes it doesn’t work out and that’s okay, try again!
Overall, my whole perspective of public health nursing has changed. I have more respect for what they do and realize it is a complex, difficult field. There are many things that affect the care they can give, such as funding, governmental policies, amount of resources, culture, and receptiveness of the community. I enjoyed my experience at the Lorain County General Health District. The staff has been eager to teach us and went the extra mile to get to know us as people too. I plan to keep in contact with many of the staff members in the future. I would like to thank them all and the agency for this semester. I hope that we have done a project that is beneficial to them and they have enjoyed having us as well!