Nurses’ work has positive impact throughout the community
By Trudy Balcom
RAWLINS — What would the world be like without nurses?
We don’t want to find out, says Amanda Brown, wellness coordinator for Carbon County Public Health.
The work of nurses is recognized during the second week in May — National Nurses Week.
“Nurses are the boots on the ground. If there were no nurses, it would completely change healthcare. Healthcare would not be what it is. We’re the ones that are hands-on with the client, educating the client. There would be a huge gap in the system,” Brown said.
Healthcare costs would rise, and so would the incidence of disease, Brown said.
Although most people connect nurses with hospitals, nurses work in organizations throughout the community as well as in the hospital.
In Carbon County, nurses work at more than a dozen area private and public organizations, including Wyoming State Penitentiary, both school districts, Carbon County Public Health, Rawlins Rehabilitation nursing home, Saratoga Care Center, Platte Valley Medical Clinic, with private practice physicians, Home Health Services, Carbon County Detention Center and Sinclair Refinery, Veteran’s Health Administration and Carbon County Higher Education Center, teaching the next generation of nurses.
Brown said that studies have shown that public health nursing alone has added 25 years to the average lifespan since 1900.
“We focus on prevention and education,” Brown said. Public health nursing, she said is about planting a seed, and looking at the big picture. Her office focuses on helping people with disease prevention — including things like diabetes, weight management and healthy habits.
“I always tell my employees it’s about planting a seed. Public health is not about instant gratification, it focuses on the long-term. It’s not easy to get people to change their lifestyle or change their habits,” Brown said.
As organizations have marked Nurses Week through the past few days, Brown stopped to take stock of what the week means to her.
Nurses Week, Brown said “reminds me why I chose to do what I do.”
“I’ve always wanted to be a nurse, I wanted to help people, I wanted to make a difference. But I feel at home here in community nursing. It allows me to make a bigger impact,” Brown said.