Currently a Public Health Nurse III with the City of Cleveland Department of Public Health, Kathleen Koviak, RN, BA, writes about the focus and goals of her work. She speculates about the ways in which nursing practice will change in the future and offers advice for self-care to all nurses.
For over eight years, I have been a public health nurse with the Cleveland Department of Public Health. My focus is prevention and reversal. My goal is to educate the public about the power they have over their own health through lifestyle choices. In particular, I’m passionate about nutrition as changing my diet years ago dramatically improved my health by reversing a serious hereditary medical condition. Eating and sleeping well, being physically active, and managing stress are powerful tools that can prevent—and in some cases mitigate—existing medical conditions and even reduce the likelihood of complications from infectious disease with the addition of recommended immunizations. In my experience, many people aren’t yet aware of the extent of power they have over their own health, and I want to get the word out. I anticipate that “lifestyle medicine” (or whatever you’d like to call it) will become an increasing part of the practice of nursing and the lives of the individuals and communities that we serve.
I am also passionate about nurses taking care of themselves. I myself have been guilty of neglecting my own needs while taking care of my patients when I worked in hospitals. We nurses must make our own health and wellbeing a priority so that we can be an example to our patients and take better care of them. Nurses are amazing people. Let’s show them how it’s done!