Va. official applauds public health nurses' role in flu response

  1. Public health nurses have been an important part of the state's response to health emergencies including the current presence of the H1N1 influenza virus in Virginia, a point underscored Thursday by Virginia's Health Commissioner, Dr. Karen Remley, MD, MBA.

    Remley was in the department's Fairfax Health District Thursday for National Nurses Week where she called attention to the role of public nurses in protecting public health. This year's theme is "Building a Healthy America."

    "Small outbreaks could become much larger if it were not for public health nurses," says Remley said. "They provide services to their communities that most Virginians never know about, filling the gap between individuals with health needs and the delivery of proper care. They often go to extraordinary lengths, including home visits, to ensure that those who are ill are receiving the tests, medication and treatment they need, when they need it, to ensure a healthy recovery."

    Remley presented JoAnne Jorgenson, R.N., MPH, in the Fairfax Health District with an award as the Virginia Department of Health's Public Health Nurse of the Year for 2009. Jorgenson's work in creating the Fairfax Office of Emergency Preparedness has helped the district respond to the presence of the new H1N1 A virus in the local community and illustrates one focus of all public health nurses: preventing and limiting the spread of disease.

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