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Jenna Applebach

Public Health Reflection Log


Overall, I really enjoyed my experience with public health nursing at the Health
Department District 10 health clinic in Manistee. I absolutely loved the location as well, as the
whole area is beautiful!
The ages of the clients I primarily saw were anywhere from four months of age up to 38
years of age. In reality, people of all ages come to the public health department for various
reasons. The levels of prevention addressed included primary and secondary levels of prevention.
The primary levels I observed included immunizations and shots for birth control. Another
primary level of prevention included the inspection of septic tank sites for the installation of
septic tanks so that there would be no issues of waste mixing with well water. Also, inspections
of septic tanks were also carried out to ensure that there were no structural issues that could lead
to leakage. Finally, another level of primary prevention included the education of nutritional
needs and developmental stages of infants for new mothers. Secondary levels of prevention I
observed included screening for hypertension through blood pressure readings as well as
screening for developmental issues of babies in order to determine if there were any
abnormalities. The developmental screening was done by observing the baby performing certain
tasks, such grasping an object, passing the object from one hand to another, crawling, standing
on his/her own with some help, etc.
As there are many different areas of health which public health nurses address, their jobs
entail many different activities and responsibilities. Their responsibilities include giving
immunizations, administering birth control as well as giving birth control pills and explaining
when they should be taken, taking vital signs, teaching about infectious and communicable
diseases, checking people for lice and teaching about lice and other parasites, physical

Jenna Applebach
assessments, TB testing, screening infants and children for developmental issues, teaching new
mothers on all levels of care for newborns and infants, and charting. In reality, the list goes on
and on, as public health nurses are responsible for a great many areas concerning health and
well-being.
Public health nurses typically collaborate with other public health nurses, social workers,
health educators, dieticians, sanitarians, and physicians. Educational preparation includes either
an ADN or BSN in nursing, working as an RN for 500 hours in public health, and passing the
Community/Public Health Nursing certification exam. Public health nurses, as I have learned,
may specialize in immunizations, communicable diseases, working with new mothers and
infants, etc. Typical sources of funding for clients in this setting include Medicaid, Medicare, and
private health insurance. It all depends on which services are covered under these
programs/insurance agencies. For instance, certain immunizations may not be covered and the
client may have to pay for such a service out-of-pocket. Public health departments also accept
donations to cover for their free services as well.
An example of a vulnerable population that nurses provide care to in public health might
include poor mothers with WICC benefits (through teaching them the proper care of their infants
and children), children from poor families, minority populations such as Native Americans,
persons with diabetes, and more. The types of nursing actions I did included taking blood
pressures and measuring weight on sliding scales, the physical assessment of clients, the
developmental screening of a baby, and therapeutic communication.
My overall impression of public health nursing was a positive one. I would not want to
start off as a public health nurse as I am afraid I might lose some of my hospital nursing skills,
but it is definitely another option for further into my future. Also, because Manistee is a smaller

Jenna Applebach
community, it was obvious that the nurses had established better relationships with some of their
clients. I love seeing that trusting relationship between clients and nurses.