The Santa Barbara County Public Health Department salutes nurses in honor of National Nurse Week from May 6–12, 2011.
The theme for National Nurse Week is “Nurses Trusted to Care”. Nurses make up the largest health-care profession. The depth and breadth of the nursing profession is expanding and becoming more vital as our health-care system undergoes many changes demanded by a declining economy and the implementation of health-care reform.
According to projections released in February 2004 from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, RNs top the list of occupations with the largest projected job growth in the years 2002-2012. Although RNs have listed among the top 10 growth occupations in the past, this is the first time in recent history that RNs have ranked first. There are nearly 2.9 million registered nurses in the United States working in a variety of private and public settings to support the health-care needs of all.
This past year, Public Health Department nurses stepped up to meet many recent challenges. Public Health nurses successfully managed to combat the recent Pertussis (Whooping Cough) epidemic, which arrived at the heels of the H1N1 influenza pandemic. There have been increasing demands for primary care, high risk maternal/child public health nurse assessments, and a 30% increase in TB cases. Nurses provided much needed Healthy Neighbor’s events in both North and South County aimed at providing care for our vulnerable homeless population. Nurses worked diligently to treat the ill in our primary care clinics, educate our community, administer vaccinations, and investigate cases. The teamwork and dedication of the Santa Barbara County Public Health Department’s nurses to promote community wellness remain critical to reducing the incidence and severity of illness in our community.