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PHN Section Member Spotlight: Lisa Campbell, DNP, RN, APHN-BC & Laura Campbell, Student Nurse & Recent PHN Section Student Member

Lisa and Laura CampbellI view myself as the 'pied piper' of public health nursing to anyone who will listen and to the DNP students I teach, mentor, and coach. I am an associate professor at Texas Tech Health Sciences Center School of Nursing. I have the privilege of teaching what I am passionate about and engage students in high-level public health projects.  These projects include facilitating strategic planning for local and regional health departments, policy development and implementation, program development, and community capacity building. I am the founder of Population Health Consultants, LLC and  the former public health director of two public health departments in South Texas. In the role as director, I had to balance meeting the essential public health services against staffing and budget issues. As a nurse consultant, I build community capacity through stakeholder engagement to improve health.  Foundational to my work are the three core public health functions; assessment, assurance, and policy development and the DNP Essentials. 

I chose public health nursing because I am a connector & believe in the power of achieving more through relationships. In 2005, I traveled to South Africa as a faculty advisor for students who wanted to become nurses.  While there we were exposed to and learned about the South African healthcare system which relies heavily on public health and public health nurses. South African public health nurses (PHNs) leverage themselves by teaching community members how to care for each other and by engaging stakeholders.  I was inspired by PHNs who were able to do so much with so little.  The South African PHNs were engaged in work that had a tremendous impact on the communities they served, and I wanted to do that too.

As an optimist, the most rewarding aspect of public health nursing is creating hope by helping others succeed at improving health.  As a public health nurse, I continually engage in networking, relationship building, and listening.  I pay attention to the ‘need’ expressed by those I meet and analyze how I can expand their network to address the ‘need.'   I have also learned that the pace at which I desire things to move is the most challenging issue I face.  Over the last two and a half years, I have worked with community stakeholders (citizens, county commissioners, local groundwater district boards, environmental groups, an environmental law professor, and policy makers, etc.) to address fracking in South Texas.  We proposed a rulemaking change that would require oil & gas companies to notify the local groundwater district when an injection well permit was filed.  Injection wells are typically several hundred feet deep and often cut through aquifers (risk for water contamination).  Oil & gas companies use injection wells to force (under high pressure) produced water from fracking wells into lower layers of sediment.  We met with the Texas Railroad Commission (RRC) in June of 2015 about the rulemaking change, and the RRC has not provided a response.  Needless to say, we have made multiple contacts with the RRC and we are not giving up.  So I am hopeful that by going on record with the rulemaking petition and being persistent we can raise awareness and ensure safe drinking water.

My daughter, Laura, has had repeated exposure (dose response is key) to all aspects of my nursing career.  Where possible I have engaged her in public health activities:  assembling materials, greeting community members, pre-screening my presentations or conducting homeless point in time counts, with a secret desire she would become a nurse!  It worked and this December she will graduate from a second-degree nursing program.  Laura’s first degree is in business administration with a minor in Spanish and a ‘major’ in world travels.  Her passport is almost full with 27 country stamps.  When she entered nursing school, she decided to pursue public health because of her exposure to so many cultures.  I recently gave Laura the following advice about pursuing her career in public health nursing:

  • Talk with PHNs and ask them what they are most passionate about and what keeps them up at night.
  • Ask yourself the following questions: What am I passionate about?  What contribution do I want to make?
  • Evaluate workplace options, does the opportunity align with your passion and desired contribution?
  • Be a leader in everything you do. 
  • Continue your education.
  • Become involved in professional organizations.

I hope you will help me in welcoming Laura to Public Health Nursing!

The Public Health Nursing Section is proud to announce:

Public Health Nursing Section creates action plan for APHA policy statements

Kay Henry, Carolyn Nganga-Good and Patricia Scott have been selected to participate in the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation's Public Health Nurse Leaders program

Elizabeth Gross Cohn was recently recognized by the White House as a "Champion of Change" for Precision Medicine, honoring professionals who are transforming the way we improve health and treat disease. 

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