Public Health Nursing
Section Newsletter
Winter 2009

Message from the Chair

 As I write my first message as chair of the PHN Section, the world looks on in wonder as the United States welcomes in a new president in the midst of financial and fiscal atrocities.  What a country - such hope and such despair!  To quote from the October 2008 Trust for America’s Health Blueprint for a Healthier America: Modernizing the Federal Public Health System to Focus on Prevention and Preparedness, “Poor health is putting the nation’s economic security in jeopardy. The skyrocketing costs of health care threaten to bankrupt American businesses, causing some companies to send jobs to other countries where costs are lower. Helping people to stay healthy and better manage illnesses are the best ways to drive down health care costs. Keeping the American workforce well helps American businesses remain competitive in the global economy and yet we also stand as a symbol of inclusion for the diversity of our representative elected officials,”


Last July, I attended “Chair School” at APHA headquarters, where we were welcomed with a ‘Beginners Guide’ with the encouraging title of “Surviving Your Years in the Hot Seat.” Our very own Betty Bekemeier conducted much of the excellent training as chair of the Intersectional Council. I sat next to Cheryl Easley, president-elect of APHA and another of our own public health nurses. I felt proud.  APHA is benefiting from leadership from the PHN Section. Speaking of leadership, leadership positions in the PHN Section and APHA are open. Please look at the PHN Section and APHA Web sites for positions and qualifications.  If you are interested in being nominated for a leadership position within the PHN Section or APHA, please contact me.


Mid Year Meeting: Feb. 20-21, 2009 APHA Headquarters
All are welcome and invited to the PHN Section Mid Year Meeting Feb. 20-21, 2009 at APHA Headquarters. Please RSVP to by Feb. 13, 2009, if you plan on attending.  I need to order enough food for lunch! Elected officers pay their first $100 expenses, and remaining costs are covered by the PHN Section. The Hampton Inn has arrangements with APHA for a $199 rate so let them know you are attending an APHA meeting to receive the discount rate.  The Hampton Inn is located near APHA Headquarters at 901 6th Street NW, and Massachusetts Avenue NW, Washington DC, 20001.  Their telephone number is (202) 842-2500.  Please send me your mid-year meeting agenda items!!!


National Public Health Week: Building the Foundation for a Healthy America

I challenge you all to do something locally to bring attention to the critical issues raised during this week! Let’s make our section proud when the activities are documented in The Nations Health!  In the words of APHA Executive Director Dr. Georges Benjamin,  “We have the potential to greatly improve our population’s health in the future. By recommitting ourselves to support our nation’s public health system, we can build on the successes of the past and establish the solid foundation needed for a healthy nation. To this end, NPHW 2009 will serve as the launch of APHA’s new campaign: Building the Foundation for a Healthy America. As we begin this journey, we must all be part of the solution. It’s our job to speak up and share first-hand experiences about the challenges and opportunities we face in creating a healthy nation. Please join us as we celebrate National Public Health Week, April 6-12, 2009, and work to build a solid foundation for a healthy America.”


Annual Meeting: American Public Health Association 137th Annual Meeting & Expo 
Philadelphia, Nov. 7-11, 2009 "Water and Public Health: the 21st Century Challenge"

Please submit your abstracts as requested in the January "Blast e-mail." Thank you, Sonda Oppewal for chairing the Program Committee! Sonda has already done a yeoman’s job getting us off on the right foot to meet the deadlines. The global water crisis in potable water and sanitation is a public health cause that every public health nurse can understand. Urban and rural communities across the United States are facing similar issues, all of which have critical environmental implications for our future generations. I am very pleased that Brenda M Afzal, RN, MS, Director, Health Programs, Environmental Health Education Center, University of Maryland School of Nursing, will be the keynote speaker at the Sunday evening Quad Council event from 4:30-6:00 p.m. This will be a wonderful launching pad for the focus of the rest of the meeting.


Environmental Health Strategic Priority of PHN Section:

The Environmental Health Committee of the PHN Section and the Environment Section of APHA have worked very successfully together for the past five years. A key outcome of this successful collaboration was a very stimulating session at the Annual Meeting that resulted in an ongoing dialog, “Harnessing the Power of Nurses and Other Health Professionals to Fight Global Climate Change.” Please contact Stephanie Chalupka at to be part of this ongoing work.


Another opportunity to participate with your colleagues in a vital e-learning community around the issue of environmental health and nursing is the online e-community that resulted from the Unity Meeting supported by the Beldon Fund, and held in Oracle, Ariz., in December 2008.  Barbara Sattler, DrPH, RN, FAAN, from the University of Maryland, was one of the primary organizers of the conference.  She said, “In early December 2008, a group of nursing leaders representing a range of nursing organizations gathered in Oracle, Arizona to launch a new configuration of nurses who are interested in the relationship between the environment and human health and how it relates to their individual nursing practices and the nursing profession as a whole.   On the heels of the newly established Environmental Health Principles for Nursing, this group developed a strategic plan for the integration of environmental health into nursing education (basic, advanced and continuing), nursing practice, research, and advocacy/policy work.   The end-of-meeting product was a strategic plan that will help to guide the work of a newly-formed cadre of nurses who are committed to engaging the nursing profession in environmental health.”  As your chair, I was fortunate to attend this conference. Laura Anderko and I will serve on the Steering Committee for future work of the Unity Conference. For additional information about the Unity Conference, visit the Web site at


I welcome your thoughts and suggestions at Please encourage your colleagues to join us at the Annual Meeting this November in Philadelphia!


Thanks to you all!


Beth Lamanna, WHNP, MPH, RN

PHN Section Chair, 2008-2009

Save the Date for 2009 Annual Meeting

Plan now to attend the 137th APHA Annual Meeting in Philadelphia, Nov. 7-11, 2009. The theme is “Water and Public Health: The 21st Century Challenge.”  No doubt we can all consider numerous ways in which water is vitally important to our health. This year’s conference promises to bring an extensive number of interesting scientific sessions, opportunity for networking within and across disciplines, an evening of entertainment, interactive poster sessions — and so much more! APHA staff members and volunteers are working hard to help this next conference be one that provides numerous cutting-edge scientific sessions and will help equip participants with new knowledge and skills that ultimately will improve the public’s health.


On June 1, 2009, the housing office and advance registration opens. Please consider booking your hotel through APHA Housing as this helps keep overall expenses low for all participants.  Contact me if you have never been to an APHA conference before – they can be a bit overwhelming with approximately 13,00 participants. A wealth of information about the Annual Meeting is available at


Many thanks to all of you who submitted abstracts for peer review, all of the volunteer peer reviewers, and those of you who let me know you can moderate a session at the conference. If you plan on attending, and would like to serve as a session moderator, e-mail me at


If you are interested in being mentored in the role of program chair for the APHA PHN Section, just let me know as it’s never too early for succession planning!


Best wishes for a healthy and happy 2009!


Sonda Oppewal, Program Chair,

APHA Public Health Nursing Section

PHEP Announces 19th Annual Competition

The APHA Public Health Education Health Promotion Section is soliciting your best health education, promotion and communication materials for the 19th annual competition. The contest provides a forum to showcase public health materials during the APHA Annual Meeting and recognizes professionals for their hard work.

All winners will be selected by panels of expert judges prior to the 137th APHA Annual Meeting in Philadelphia. A session will be held at the Annual Meeting to recognize winners, during which one representative from the top materials selected in each category will give a presentation about their material.

Entries will be accepted in three categories; printed materials, electronic materials, and other materials. Entries for the contest are due by March 27, 2009. Please contact Kira McGroarty at for additional contest entry information.

2008 Annual Meeting Highlights

The Public Health Nursing Section is very active and engaged within APHA, and the 2008 Annual Meeting was no exception.  The PHN Section continues to demonstrate its leadership, representing public health nursing at all levels of the association. The Section conducted its business at early morning meetings that were usually filled to capacity. Click here to read minutes of the week's business meetings.  To read the work and reports of the Section's committees, click here for Part I and here for Part II.

The PHN Section's many activities included recognition and presentation of Section awards at the annual PHN Section Luncheon (an overview of award recipients follows this report), hosting the Quad Council Public Health Nursing Town Hall, and presenting Student Poster Awards. The conclusion of the Annual Meeting also marked the change in Section leadership as Jeanne Matthews, PhD, RN, passed on the chair's gavel to Beth Lamanna, WHNP, MPH, RN. Beth assumed her role as chair of the Public Health Nursing Section, and Linda Olson Keller began her term as chair-elect. Outgoing Secretary Kathleen Jaskowiak "passed the pen" to incoming Secretary Judy Gibson, MSN, RN, and Donna Westawski, MSN, RN assumed the role of secretary-elect. For a complete roster of the PHN Section Leadership, click hereIf you are interested in getting involved with the Section go here for an overview of Section activities and leadership opportunities.

Visitors to PHN Section Booth at 2008 APHA Expo. Photo courtesy PHN Section

Beverly Flynn Mentors & Mentees Recognized. Photo courtesy PHN Section.

PHN Luncheon Attendees Enjoy Good Company. Photo courtesy PHN Section

PHN Section Governing Councilors. Photo courtesy PHN Section

Immediate Past-Chair Jeanne Matthews, Chair-Elect Linda Keller, PHN Section Chair Beth Lamanna, & Past-Chair Debra Anderson. Photo courtesy PHN Section

2008 PHN Section Award Winners



At the APHA Annual Meeting each year, the PHN Section is pleased to honor those men and women who exemplify distinguished careers and service in public health.  At the 136th Annual Meeting in San Diego, award recipients were:


2008 Margaret G. Arnstein Medal awarded to Nonceba Lubanga, RN, MPH.  The Margaret G. Arnstein award is given for an outstanding contribution to nursing. Nonceba Lubanga grew up in the Transkei Territory of the Union of South Africa’s Cape Province under the former White African Nationalists’ apartheid government.  She received her RN with honors from Livingstone Hospital in Port Elizabeth, South Africa in 1963, after which she became a nurse midwife.  Nonceba experienced and worked under the segregated non-white health care system, and the South African Nurses Association that supported apartheid segregation policies in nursing practice and leadership.  She later left her home in South Africa to pursue additional nursing studies in England, and in 1970 went to New York where at Columbia University she met fellow health care workers and exiles from South Africa.  Together, they worked to influence national and international leaders to end apartheid within the South African health care system.  Nonceba became a leader within APHA and the Public Health Nursing Section to condemn apartheid among nurses of color in South Africa.  In 1988, Nonceba co-authored and was successful in the passage of a Governing Council resolution condemning the apartheid policies of the South African Nurses Association (SANA).  In 1991, the National League for Nursing adopted a similar resolution, and subsequently in 1993, the American Nurses Association and the International Council of Nursing added their support to end apartheid policies against nurses of color in South Africa.  Nonceba’s efforts to change the policies of SANA began to bear fruit with the end of apartheid in 1994.  The transformation of SANA from its apartheid past to the present day professional organization known as the Democratic Nursing Association of South Africa demonstrates the power that one individual, one nurse has to effect positive change.  Nonceba Lubanga is one such person, one such nurse whose contributions have changed not only her profession but also the health of a nation.


Click here to watch the award presentation on YouTube.


Click here to watch Nonceba Lubanga’s story on YouTube.


2008 Public Health Nurse Creative Achievement Award presented to Karen Monsen, PhD, RN and the Omaha Users Group.  Dr. Karen Monsen, University of Minnesota, School of Nursing, was identified by her colleagues as the founder and leader of the user group, and is recognized for implementing a creative practice model, mentoring public health colleagues, conducting intervention effectiveness research demonstrating public health nursing outcomes, and disseminating her research findings. The Minnesota Omaha System User Group is a volunteer, grassroots collaboration of public health agencies that use the Omaha System in documenting public health nursing services.  This innovative, successful, statewide collaboration was initiated in 2001, and brings Omaha System users together to share work, showcase how nomenclature can be used to define practice standards, articulate practice pathways, and document outcomes for diverse programs. 


2008 Lillian Wald Service Award presented to the “Advancing Public Health Nursing Education (APHNE) in Illinois” project lead by Kathleen Baldwin, PhD, RN, & L. Michele Issel, PhD, RN.  Dr. Kathleen Baldwin, University of Illinois Chicago, School of Nursing, and Dr. Michele IsselUniversity of Illinois Chicago, School of Public Health, co-lead APHNE, a statewide membership comprised of public health nurses from academia and practice.  APHNE developed marketing materials to brand public health, reenergized the Illinois Public Health Association’s nursing section, strengthened public health education, recruited rural and minority students into public health nursing, and fostered change in the collaboration between clinical sites and BSN programs from an individual to a population-focused learning experience.


2008 Ruth B. Freeman Award presented to Carol Easley Allen, PhD, RN.  Dr. Allen was recognized for her extraordinary career in public health education, administration, policy and practice.  She has worked tirelessly to reduce health care disparities, increase health literacy, and address unmet needs locally, nationally and internationally.  Dr. Allen’s commitment to public health and nursing is demonstrated through her leadership and service to the public, the PHN Section and APHA.  She has served as chair of the PHN Section, chair of the Credentialing of the Public Health Workforce Committee, chair of the Executive Board and Executive Committee, chair of the International Human Rights Committee, and president of the APHA.


Click here to watch the presentation on YouTube.

Call for 2009 PHN Section Award Nominations

The APHA Public Health Nursing Section is calling for nominations for awards to be presented at the 2009 Annual Meeting. The Ruth B. Freeman Award honors a person who has had a distinguished career in public health administration, education, policy, practice or research. The Public Health Nurse Creative Achievement Award is bestowed in recognition of an individual's exceptional and creative contribution to public health nursing administration, education, practice, or research.  The Lillian Wald Service Award is awarded to agencies, individuals, organizations or media, for depicting exemplary public health nursing especially through legislative, professional or public advocacy.   

The deadline for submission of nomination materials is May 2009.  Nominees must be members of APHA and voting members of the Public Health Nursing Section. If the nominee is a group, at least one active member of the group must be a member of the APHA and a voting member of the Public Health Nursing Section. The Awards Committee encourages nominations and is happy to answer questions regarding preparation of materials.


Public Health Nursing Section Awards Criteria


Ruth B. Freeman Award

The nominee must have demonstrated a distinguished career, characterized by a continuing record of noteworthy accomplishment, in the field of public health nursing at local, state, national and/or international levels.  Accomplishments must present exemplary and significant contributions in public health nursing administration, education, policy, practice or research.  The nominee must be a current member of APHA and a voting member of the PHN Section.


Public Health Nurse Creative Achievement Award

The nominee must have made an exceptional and creative contribution to public health nursing administration, education, practice or research, by enhancing the quality of care delivered to individuals, families or populations by enhancing the professional status of public health nursing.  The achievement, with a discussion of the outcome of this creative endeavor, should have been publicized and professionally disseminated.  Written documentation from at least one individual who can validate the creative contribution is required.  The nominee’s potential for continuing achievement should also be addressed in letters of support. The nominee must be a current member of APHA and a voting member of the PHN Section.


Lillian Wald Service Award

Nominees for the Lillian Wald Service Award may include agencies, groups, individuals, media or organizations that depict exemplary public health nursing to the public. Nominees must have demonstrated initiative and resourcefulness in developing efforts to improve population health through legislative, professional or public advocacy. These noteworthy achievements could relate to promoting social reform activities or influencing health policy and health laws for populations, or strengthening public health nursing education, policy, practice or research.   Achievements may include collaborating with other health care professionals, populations or public officials.  Evidence of the nominee’s contributions must be validated in writing by at least one individual. If a group nomination, at least one member of the group must be a member of APHA and a voting member of the PHN Section. 


Click here for more information and submission dealines.

A Warm Welcome to Public Health Nursing

Welcome to Public Health Nursing via APHA!

As a Beverly C. Flynn Mentee, I am honored to have been selected to participate in the Legacy Leadership program.  I was fortunate in being able to attend not only the APHA 2008 Annual Meeting in San Diego but also to present my project, Supportive Interventions for Preventing or Reversing Pre-diabetes. My presentation was the morning of the Annual Meeting’s last day, giving me the opportunity to attend many of the scientific sessions and to explore what public health means to me and to the citizens of our country.  Initially extremely intimidated by the depth and breadth of knowledge that all the presenters possessed, I could not imagine that they would be interested in what I had to say. When my turn to present arrived I was very impressed by the respect and interest that was shown to me even though my project was not as sophisticated as some of the other session presenters. This experience made me realize that even though my presentation represented a small geographic area that there is commonalty in providing processes to improve access to care and decreasing health disparity.

Prior to the Annual Meeting, I had utilized the self-scheduler and looked for sessions by areas of interest to me but I had not factored in attending the business meetings.  Jan Wallinder, RN, MSN, my Beverly C. Flynn Mentor, recommended that I attend the PHN Section Business Meetings. It is through this experience that I was able to see how advocacy does not stand alone, but is entwined in almost everything that public health nurses do in the interest of the people they work with, the people they care for, and with the people that have governance over their role.  Both the ANA Public Health Nursing Scope and Standards of Practice and the Minnesota Department of Health's Wheel of Public Health Interventions list "Advocacy" as a separate standard. In practice, it is a process used in almost every public health nurse interaction. The public health nurse advocates for the practice of promoting and protecting the health of all populations whether providing surveillance, disease or health investigation, screening and outreach programs, counseling or consultation.  Advocacy is required in collaboration, coalition building and community organizing.  It is essential for a public health nurse to be able and willing to advocate with leaders in policy development and enforcement.  The scientific sessions I attended were stimulating and thought provoking, but the real life dialogue in the business meetings helped me to better understand the work of the public health nurse, and the importance of ensuring that evidence-based practice is transparent within both academic and practice situations. There was a clear message that sometimes it is more important for public health nurses to put their own interests aside for the welfare of the populations they serve.  It was through my opportunity as a Beverly C. Flynn Legacy Mentee that I could participate, not as an outsider looking in, but rather as a real member of the public health community.

Submitted by Carol Hodges, BSN, RN

Students Reflect on APHA’s 2008 Annual Meeting


Attending a national conference for the first time is a rather daunting task.  It requires much preparation and support as well as the nerve to dare to hope for something you can hardly believe is possible for a group of undergraduate nursing students.  As we walked through the convention center on our first day, registering and learning the lay out, feeling overwhelmed and out of place was not a solo experience.  We felt uncomfortable and self-conscious in our new suits as we looked around at all of the dignified PhDs around us.  Yet, the moment we entered the Public Health Nursing Section meeting early Monday morning, we were surrounded by eager faces.  The chair came up to us beaming as she said “Students!  We love students here!” then guided us to the buffet table, perhaps remembering college students’ affinity for free food.  At every subsequent meeting, we had friends among the public health nurses, friends to talk to, to help us find our way around, to give us advice, and even come to our presentation.


Giving a presentation in front of your peers is a common experience for most undergraduate nursing students; giving a presentation at a national conference is a completely different, life-changing experience. Being the last presenter in the group, every minute seemed to go by so slowly, waiting for your turn to present.  When the time finally came, as an undergraduate nursing student the moderator’s introduction was encouraging and positive. Looking back the presentation itself was a blur.  What remains crystal clear in my mind are the words of support from members of the Public Health Nursing Section, many of whom sat in the audience just to hear my presentation.  Knowing that the other members of my research team and other people we knew from the conference were there listening really helped me to put my nerves behind me and present.


Thanks to our experiences at the 2008 APHA Annual Meeting last year, our eyes have been opened to the possibility of pursuing an advanced degree in public health. Our conversations with people at the conference and the many presentations we attended helped to clarify how a focus on public health would enhance our nursing practice, and how to engage  in health promotion and disease prevention rather than merely treating a problem after it has occurred. Our entire group has gained critical knowledge to carry with us throughout our future vocations.   We have increased our understanding of the importance of prevention and education, and of truly listening to the community and their concerns and ideas, and engage fully with the entire community in health promotion efforts.  While the details about this presentation may fade from our memories, our experiences with the Public Health Nursing Section and our first APHA Annual Meeting, will never be forgotten. 


Submitted by Katherine Thomas, Tricia Erdmann & Rebekah Schmerber





ANCC Renews Accreditation of CE Approval Unit

Congratulations to our APHA PHN Section for being accredited by the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) Commission on Accreditation as an Approver of Continuing Nursing Education for four more years (March 2007-February 2013)!  We were first accredited as an Approver of Nursing CE in Spring 2007 for two years, and we're thrilled with receiving our next approval term for four more years! Thanks to Beth Benedict and her team!

From the Field

Public Health Nursing Leads the Way: A Response to the Hurricane Ike Disaster


Public health nursing competencies include leadership roles in disaster management -- both planning and response. Dedicated and trained public health nursing faculty, working with both colleagues at the City of Austin and the School of Nursing at the University of Texas at Austin (UT), led a response effort to assist with Hurricane Ike sheltering. The purpose of this paper is to report the work UT Austin has done in preparation for and response to mass sheltering, and to report the lessons learned from Hurricane Katrina and Hurricane Gustav.  The preparation and response to these recent back-to-back disasters allowed UT Austin to integrate disaster-nursing competencies within its baccalaureate curriculum, and provide real world experiences for students.


Many Hurricane Ike evacuees arrived in Austin, Texas in September 2008, fleeing the mayhem on the Texas coast. Over 2,000 evacuees from Galveston and Beaumont came to Austin, and many were sheltered in municipal or school settings. Due to previously developed contractual agreements between the City of Austin and the University of Texas at Austin School of Nursing, our School quickly responded to a request for shelter assistance. This agreement, a Memorandum of Cooperation, had been developed post-Katrina, with the aim of streamlining and formalizing a call for nursing volunteers.  The UT School of Nursing provided a template, our Disaster Mobilization Plan, to both the School of Social Work and the College of Pharmacy at the University of Texas, recognizing the multi-disciplinary teams required during any public health emergency response.


On Labor Day weekend, the City of Austin contacted the University to activate our Memorandum of Cooperation for Hurricane Gustav. We were informed 2,000 nursing home patients were to be airlifted from New Orleans to Austin. Many of these patients were sent to other locations. Of the approximate 200 patients retained in Austin, area hospitals received many of these after triage at the airport. The 65 patients that arrived in the Medical Special Needs Shelter were high care acuity and, after one night, were transferred to more appropriate settings. This activation of our School Disaster Mobilization plan allowed us to test our processes, and we did indeed have adequate volunteers ready to report to the shelter on the Labor Day holiday.


Volunteers logged over 2,000 hours --  faculty (500 hours), staff (50 hours) and students (1,550 hours) -- between Sept. 12 -24, 2008, during the Hurricane Ike response. Because of our Memorandum of Cooperation, along with disaster training embedded in the undergraduate public health nursing curriculum, the protocols developed by the School’s Disaster Response Committee and the use of our School Disaster Web site, the City was assured that the volunteers we sent them were vetted, trained and pre-identified.  Our Disaster Mobilization Plan, which includes a call-for-volunteers protocol, was fully activated for the first time. All components of our School of Nursing Incident Command System -- logistics, finances, planning and operations -- were called into service during this disaster response.


UT Austin School of Nursing Response


During this 2-week period, UT School of Nursing students, faculty and staff provided critically needed work in four major areas:

·        Telephone triage at the City Emergency Operations Center, for all general shelters;

·        Supplemental staffing for the Medical Special Needs Shelter;

·        Medical triage at the Austin Convention Center (a major shelter site); and

·        Cot rounds at the Austin Convention Center.


1.    Telephone Triage: Emergency Operations Center, Central Texas Emergency Command Center.  Experienced nursing faculty performed telephone triage, answering health-related questions from shelter supervisors. These supervisors were located in general population shelters around Austin, in schools and other city facilities. At this Command Center site, for four days, faculty volunteers provided more than 40 hours of triage, including weekend coverage, alongside City of Austin nurses providing advice and teaching.  Questions included what to do about newborns in the general shelter, sick children, adults who were a day or two status post-surgery, persons without medications, etc. Triage options were to stay in the general shelter (with advice/assistance), refer the individual to the Medical Special Needs Shelter or send to the hospital.


2.    Medical Special Needs Shelter.  The Medical Special Needs Shelter was reserved for persons meeting specific criteria and housed frail, medically needy adults (and one child with tube feeding) whose needs, prior to evacuation from Galveston, were being met at home with home health services (morbid obesity, stroke, dialysis, myasthenia gravis, mental illness, diabetes, and COPD were among many diagnoses).  Caregivers for evacuees (to handle medication management and other care) were allowed, but most frail evacuees were without a caregiver. Nursing students were crucial to a successful location change of this special needs shelter, halfway through the shelter experience. Buses and ambulances transported patients with a nursing student assigned to each evacuee. Students and faculty learned how to provide nursing care in austere conditions with flexibility and resourcefulness.


3.    Medical Triage "Ask a Nurse” at the Austin Convention Center.  The Austin Convention Center served as a large general population shelter. APN faculty and students (Clinical Nurse Specialists, Family Nurse Practitioners, and Pediatric Nurse Practitioners) staffed the triage center. Evacuees seen at this clinic included newly post-op patients, patients with wound care requirements, those missing medications, and newly diagnosed hypertension, dehydration, gastroenteritis patients, and persons with changes in mental status. Care delivered in the triage area prevented admission to the emergency room.  A nearby city Community Health Center provided clinical support and received referrals until they reached capacity.


4.    Cot Rounds. Graduate nursing students, under faculty supervision, made rounds in the general shelter population. Students taught respiratory etiquette and hand washing to prevent the spread of contagious diseases and answered medication questions.




From lessons learned in response to Hurricanes Katrina and Gustav to the Memorandum of Cooperation with the City of Austin, to an improved efficient response with Hurricane Ike, public health nursing led the way. Recent national and international events, such as the threat of emerging diseases or pandemics, have demonstrated the importance of public health nursing for community health. We learned that faculty can creatively use the disaster situation to not only provide reality experience for our students, but also, at the same time, provide services to those affected by a major disaster and mass evacuation.


Submitted by Trish O’Day, MSN, RN & Marilyn Pattillo, PhD, RN




Jakeway, C., Glynnis,L., Cary, A., & Schoenfisch, S. (2008). The Role of Public Health Nurses in Emergency Preparedness and Response: A Position Paper of the Association of State and Territorial Directors of Nursing. Public Health Nursing. 25(4), 353-361.


Kuntz, S., Frable, P., Qureshi, K., & Strong, L. (2008). Association of Community Health Nursing Educators: Disaster Preparedness White Paper for Community/Public Health Nurse Educators. Public Health Nursing, 25(4), 362-369.

The Faces of Public Health Nursing

Public Health Nursing  has gone hyper, hyperlink that is!  Thanks to PHN Section member Rita Lourie, the many faces of public health nursing can be viewed online on YouTube.  Rita began documenting the stories of public health nurses at the 2007 APHA Annual Meeting in Washington, D.C.  To date, Rita has posted 55 videos to YouTube.  Click here to view Public Health Nursing! on YouTube. If you'd like to contribute your public health nursing story click here to contact Rita Lourie.

Get Ready Now!

Are you, your family and community ready for an influenza pandemic or emerging infectious disease outbreak?  Even if you are, visit the APHA sponsored "Get Ready" campaign Web site for the latest news, FAQ's, or Podcast.  Also get information on the first 'Get Ready Scholarship' for high school students focusing on emergency preparedness. This year's 'Get Ready Day' is Sept. 15, 2009.  Visit the Get Ready site at for more information.

ACHNE 2009 Annual Meeting

Demonstrating & Communicating the Value of PHN Practice to Stakeholders


The Association of Community Health Nursing Educators (ACHNE) will be holding its 2009 annual meeting in Chicago, June 11-13, 2009 at the Crowne Plaza Chicago Metro Hotel.  Our 2009 ACHNE Annual Meeting will be a time of excitement and professional renewal as we come together to share our work and findings from the past year. We invite you to plan now to attend and to bring your practice and academic colleagues, as well as students to the 2009 Annual Meeting. The program objectives are to:


1.  Provide examples of a variety of roles for generalist and specialist C/PHNs.

2.  Summarize research and evaluation findings related to C/PHN practice outcomes.

3.  Demonstrate methods to measure outcomes for C/PHN practice.

4.  Compare and contrast the effectiveness of C/PHN practice across multiple community settings.

5.  Identify innovative strategies to communicate to policymakers and the public the role and value of C/PHN.


This year’s Annual Meeting is in the heart of the vibrant Greektown neighborhood, convenient to all Chicago has to offer. Further information about housing, including ACHNE’s discounted hotel rate and room-sharing arrangements, will be available during Advance Registration for the Annual Meeting. For additional information, click here to go to ACHNE’s Web site or contact Pamela Levin, Vice President/Program Chair at (312) 942-8842 or

Omaha System International Conference

Save the Date: Omaha System Conference  April 16-18, 2009

The Omaha System International Conference: A Key to Practice, Documentation, and Information Management will be held in Eagan, Minn., from April 16-18, 2009. It is presented by Martin Associates and the school host is the University of Minnesota School of Nursing. For additional information, click here for the conference Web site or send an e-mail to LuAnn Rice at

CHPPD Webinar on Health System Reform

The Community Health Planning and Policy Development (CHPPD) Section of APHA is coordinating a free Web conference on The Role of Community in Health System Reform on Wednesday, Feb. 11, 3:00 - 4:00 p.m. ET. Speakers will present perspectives on a position paper describing community health planning from the medical and from the public health/community perspectives, and opportunities for action.  For more information, or to register, go to

AHRQ Releases Statistical Briefs

AHRQ Releases Statistical Briefs Released


The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), announces the release of four Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project (HCUP) reports from the HCUP Statistical Brief series to the HCUP User Support Website: Hospital Stays Related to Mental Health, 2006 (HCUP Statistical Brief #62); Hospital Stays for Lung Cancer, 2006 (HCUP Statistical Brief #63); and Hospitalizations Related to Pressure Ulcers among Adults 18 Years and Older, 2006 (Statistical Brief #64); Hospitalizations for Gastrointestinal Bleeding in 1998 and 2006 (HCUP Statistical Brief #65).


One in Five Hospital Admissions Are for Patients with Mental Disorders

About 1.4 million hospitalizations in 2006 involved patients who were admitted for a mental illness, while another 7.1 million patients had a mental disorder in addition to the physical condition for which they were admitted, according to the latest report from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality.

The 8.5 million hospitalizations involving patients with mental illness represented about 22 percent of the overall 39.5 million hospitalizations in 2006. AHRQ's analysis found that of the nearly 1.4 million hospitalizations specifically for treatment of a mental disorder in 2006:

·    Nearly 730,000 involved depression or other mood disorders, such as bipolar disease.

·    Schizophrenia and other psychotic disorders caused another 381,000.

·    Delirium-which can cause agitation or inability to focus attention-dementia, amnesia and other cognitive problems accounted for 131,000.

·    Anxiety disorders and adjustment disorders-stress-related illnesses that can affect feeling, thoughts, and behaviors-accounted for another 76,000.

·    The remaining roughly 34,000 hospitalizations involved attention-deficit disorder, disruptive behavior, impulse control, personality disorders, or mental disorders usually diagnosed in infancy or later childhood.


These findings are based on data from Hospital Stays Related to Mental Health, 2006 (HCUP Statistical Brief #62). The report uses statistics from the 2006 Nationwide Inpatient Sample, a database of hospital inpatient stays that is nationally representative of inpatient stays in all short-term, non-Federal hospitals. The data are drawn from hospitals that comprise 90 percent of all discharges in the United States and include all patients, regardless of insurance type, as well as the uninsured.


Lung Cancer Rates Dropping but Hospitalization Rates Remain Constant

Hospital admissions for lung cancer remained relatively stable at roughly 150,000 a year between 1995 and 2006 despite a steady decline in the number of Americans diagnosed with the disease, according to the latest report from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ).

Admissions have remained constant, in part, because lung cancer patients are surviving longer and undergoing more hospital-related treatments such as chemotherapy and tumor-removal surgery, according to AHRQ experts. Smoking is considered a main cause of lung cancer-the most deadly type of cancer-but the disease can also result from exposure to hazardous substances such as asbestos, radon, pollution or second-hand smoke, as well as genetic predisposition to the disease.

AHRQ's analysis also found that:

·    The average hospital cost for a lung cancer patient in 2006 was $14,200 (about $1,900 a day). The total cost for all patients was about $2.1 billion.

·    The death rate of hospitalized lung cancer patients was 13 percent-5 times higher than the average overall death rate (2.6 percent) for hospitalized patients.

·    Only 2.4 percent of hospitalized lung cancer patients in 2006 were younger than 44. About 63 percent were 65 or older.

·    Hospitalizations for lung cancer were far more common in the South (89 admissions per 100,000 persons) than in the Northeast (25 admissions per 100,000 persons).


These findings are based on data from Hospital Stays for Lung Cancer, 2006 (HCUP Statistical Brief #63). The report uses statistics from the 2006 Nationwide Inpatient Sample, a database of hospital inpatient stays that is nationally representative of inpatient stays in all short-term, non-Federal hospitals. The data are drawn from hospitals that comprise 90 percent of all discharges in the United States and include all patients, regardless of insurance type, as well as the uninsured.


Pressure Ulcers Increasing Among Hospital Patients

Hospitalizations involving patients with pressure ulcers-either developed before or after admission-increased by nearly 80 percent between 1993 and 2006, according to the latest report from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ).


Pressure ulcers, also called bed sores, typically occur among patients who can't move or have lost sensation. Prolonged periods of immobility put pressure on the skin, soft tissue, muscle, or bone, causing ulcers to develop. Older patients, stroke victims, people who are paralyzed, or those with diabetes or dementia are particularly vulnerable. Pressure ulcers may indicate poor quality of care at home, in a nursing home, or hospital. Severe cases can lead to life-threatening infections.


AHRQ's analysis found that of the 503,300 pressure ulcer-related hospitalizations in 2006:

·    Pressure ulcers were the primary diagnosis in about 45,500 hospital admissions-up from 35,800 in 1993.

·    Pressure ulcers were a secondary diagnosis in 457,800 hospital admissions-up from 245,600 in 1993. These patients, admitted primarily for pneumonia, infections, or other medical problems, developed pressure ulcers either before or after admission.

·    Among hospitalizations involving pressure ulcers as a primary diagnosis, about 1 in 25 admissions ended in death. The death rate was higher when pressure ulcers were a secondary diagnosis-about 1 in 8.

·    Pressure ulcer-related hospitalizations are longer and more expensive than many other hospitalizations. While the overall average hospital stay is 5 days and costs about $10,000, the average pressure ulcer-related stay extends to between 13 and 14 days and costs between $16,755 and $20,430, depending on medical circumstances.


These findings are based on data from Hospitalizations Related to Pressure Ulcers Among Adults 18 Years and Older, 2006. The report uses statistics from the 2006 Nationwide Inpatient Sample, a database of hospital inpatient stays that is nationally representative of inpatient stays in all short-term, non-Federal hospitals. The data are drawn from hospitals that comprise 90 percent of all discharges in the United States and include all patients, regardless of insurance type, as well as the uninsured.


Hospitalizations Declining for Digestive System Bleeding

Improved treatments for acid reflux disease, ulcers, arthritis, and other conditions helped reduce hospital admission rates for internal bleeding in the upper gastrointestinal tract by 14 percent from 1998 to 2006, according to the latest report from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ).

The upper gastrointestinal (GI) tract extends from the mouth to the duodenum, part of the small intestine. Bleeding in this area can be caused by ulcers, taking aspirin, and other pain medicines, and alcoholism.


AHRQ's analysis showed:

  • The hospitalization rate for upper GI bleeding declined from 96 cases per 100,000 people in 1998 (259,299 total cases) to 82 cases per 100,000 people in 2006 (246,297 cases). Potential reasons for the decline include increased use of medications that reduce gastric acid such as proton pump inhibitors; antibiotic treatment of gastric ulcers, caused by the H pylori bacteria; and increased use of the newer COX-2 inhibitor medicines for arthritis or other pain.
  • In 2006, hospitalizations for upper GI bleeding covered a wide age range -- 47 percent of admissions for patients 65 to 84; 25 percent for patients 45 to 64; 18 percent for patients older than 85; and 10 percent for patients under 45.
  • The number of hospital patients who died from upper GI bleeding fell from 20,013 in 1998 to 16,344 in 2006.

These findings are based on data from Hospitalizations for Gastrointestinal Bleeding in 1998 and 2006 (HCUP Statistical Brief #65). The report uses statistics from the 1998 and 2006 Nationwide Inpatient Sample, a database of hospital inpatient stays that is nationally representative of inpatient stays in all short-term, non-Federal hospitals. The data are drawn from hospitals that comprise 90 percent of all discharges in the United States and include all patients, regardless of insurance type, as well as the uninsured.

Nursing Faculty Recruitment

The University of Washington School of Nursing is soliciting applications and nominations for the position of Chairperson of the Department of Psychosocial and Community Health. For more information about this recruitment, go to

Call for Submissions to 2009 Spring/Summer PHN Newsletter

Are you interested in contributing to the PHN Newsletter?  Do you have any research findings that you wish to share with your PHN colleagues?  Perhaps you are recruiting for a position, or maybe you've received an award or other recognition.  The PHN Newsletter is the place for you to connect with public health nurses nationally and internationally.  Now is the time to send in your article or other newsworthy item for the next issue of the PHN Newsletter.  The submission deadline for the 2009 Spring/Summer Newsletter issue is May 16, 2009.  For more information, contact PHN Newsletter Editor David Reyes at

Correction to 2008 Fall PHN Newsletter

In the Fall 2008 PHN Section Newsletter the author of the article, "Disaster Preparedness Training Critical for Public Health Nurses", was inadvertently omitted.  The article was submitted by Margaret McCormick, MS, RN, Clinical Assistant Professor of Nursing at Towson University, Towson, Maryland.


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