They’re the “best-kept secret in healthcare.” And thanks to SEIU Local 521, now they’re a little better.
Public health nurses, who work on the front line of our healthcare system, came from around the state to Bakersfield to brush up their knowledge and prepare to get even better at the SEIU Nurse Alliance of California’s Second Annual Public Health Nurse Conference. SEIU 521 hosted the conference, which was held at the Kern County Department of Public Health.
The nurses got training in wound care from Frances Wilson, a clinical nurse specialist at Kern Medical Center. Because public health nurses so often do home visits to patients, Wilson stressed that nurses have to be aggressive in checking for and treating wounds, especially on diabetics. And she showed pictures of wounds that brought groans of disgust, even from a room full of nurses.
“The information I received from her is priceless, because it’ll help me to be a better patient advocate,” said Marie Wadlington, an emergency-room nurse at KMC. She said it will even help her provide better care for her stepfather.
The nurses also got a history of their own profession from 521 members Elaine Anthony and Abigail Romo, who took them from public health’s roots in New York City a century ago to the helping the refugee Karen population in Kern County. And they learned from SEIU’s new media specialist how to use tools to bring public health nurses together every day, so they can always learn from each other.