Each year National Nurses Week is celebrated from May 6, also known as National Nurses Day, through May 12, the birthday of Florence Nightingale, the founder of modern nursing. The purpose of the weeklong celebration is to recognize the contributions and commitments nurses make and help educate the public about the work they perform.
Currently there are 2.9 million registered nurses (RNs) in the United States which makes nursing the largest health care profession. 9,450 or 0.3 percent are American Indian or Alaska Native (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics). In 2012 during an annual Gallup poll that ranks professions for their honesty and ethical standards, nurses were voted the most trusted profession in America.
Nurses are as varied as the people they serve. Whether working at the bedside in a hospital, with patients in their homes, in research labs or within the communities, nurses are there to comfort, encourage and support their patients and family members.
Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community is fortunate to have three very knowledgeable and dedicated Community Health Nurses (CHNs), Marianne Bennett, RN, Mimi Brandon, RN and Shawna Harrison, RN. Each of the nurses holds a Bachelor’s degree in nursing and has completed advanced training to be wound care certified. Together the nurses work to promote and maintain the health of the residents within the SRPMIC boundaries.
The Community Health Nurses work as teams with the Community Health Representatives (CHRs), the teams are assigned to specific areas of the Community to ensure that every family has a CHN-CHR team. Together they provide home based activities such as monitoring of health conditions, carrying out tasks ordered by providers, coordinating care, providing health education and emotional support.
In addition to their home based activities the CHNs provide community based health care. The CHNs monitor and provide childhood immunizations to the children of the Community. The well attended seasonal flu shot clinics are organized and carried out by the CHNs. In addition to these health promotion activities the CHNs are provide educational presentations to various groups, facilitate support groups and participate in the different health screenings held within the Community. Almost everything the nurses do is to prevent illness and promote health.
In addition to the Community Health Nurses, SRPMIC employs three nurses who work in the Medical Unit at the Department of Corrections (DOC), Risa Barajas, RN, Gay Lynne Roon, RN and Steve Thompson, RN-FNP. The DOC nurses provide care to all inmates who have chronic health issues or acute care needs. Gem Bartsch, RN-FNP works for the Community providing primary care health services at the Salt River Clinic.
There are nurses working in the Community who are not employed by the Community. The four RNs who work in the Salt River Clinic assist providers by triaging phone calls, setting up exam rooms and performing tasks such as dressing changes that are ordered by the provider. The Salt River Dialysis Center also has four RNs. The dialysis nurses monitor the patient’s condition during their treatment, provide education and keep the physician informed about the patient’s status.
Nurses share the joy, hope, disappointment, and/or relief that often accompany health-related situations. Please help us recognize all of our nurses for their knowledge, compassion and contributions to the health of the residents of the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community.