A Journey in Public Health
....from Nancy Bissell, PHN & board member
Public health nursing is in my blood. I graduated from Peter Bent Brigham Hospital School of Nursing in the early 1960s and proceeded to Syracuse University to get my Bachelors of Science in Nursing.
While at Syracuse I gained my appreciation for nursing in the public health domain. I worked part time at the NY Upstate Medical Center and often remarked that without that Brigham experience I would not have been so well exposed to public health nursing. The difference between then and now is nursing is more dependent on technology than the personal hands on; a blessing for faster diagnosis but a curse in losing some of the instinctive, hands-on evaluation, we relied upon.
My very first job was as the Town Nurse for Groton, MA. Due to the constantly changing needs, I admit I never got bored. I have worked in Colorado, Massachusetts, and New Hampshire in town, county, and home health and hospice entities, along with 32 years of being a licensed EMT-B to aid my assessment skills and plan of care.
I chuckle when I read some old notes and see, “PH is not political”: The Covid-19 Pandemic certainly would disprove that. However, as difficult and trying as the pandemic has been,
I have so much admiration for those who were doing their public health jobs. Contact tracing, for example, sounds new, but has always been the normal infectious disease investigation and reporting protocol in public health.
I enjoy working with the museum’s Outbreak! program to expose students to the variety of areas one can work in public health. Thanks for your support of the museum!