Making History 1936-2011: Wyoming Public Health Nursing
Decades of serving Wyoming residents,
as world events form Public Health Nursing in Wyoming
- In 1930, the State Health Department in Cheyenne was made up of a Health Officer, a graduate nurse and a registrar of vital statistics.
- 1935 – Title V of Social Security Act. Title V of the Social Security Act in 1935 gave more attention to the needs of children creating three separate services. 1) Maternal and Child Health Services; 2) Crippled Children’s Services; 3) Child Welfare Services
- Title V also earmarked funds for training, and five nurses from Wyoming were sent to the University of California for a semester’s training in Public Health. Upon their return, these nurses were assigned to start Public Health Services in Wyoming counties.
- Miss Frances Hersey, Director of Public Health Nursing
- PHN Budget in early 40s showed the state supplying the nursing salary, the county supplying the mileage, office space and supplies. Later on it was shared 50-50 between State Health Department and the Counties.
- Annual Conference for Public Health Nurses was held in Laramie in August, 1942, in conjunction with the Child Guidance Clinic at the University.
- World War II created a nursing shortage
- CDC Established Services:
- Maternal and Infant & Preschool Services
- Crippled Children Service – “All crippled children are reportable to the State Health Department”. Orthopedic clinics were held throughout the state with follow-up done by the Public Health Nurses. Children with Cerebral Palsy went to the School of Cerebral Palsy in Jamestown North Dakota
- Dental Health Services – Dr. Carpenter, the State Dental Director, outlined a plan for dental screening in the schools. Since dental defects were responsible for most of the army rejections for physical causes, this was considered a vital part of the defense program (Sheridan Co. Annual Report July 1941 – January 1942)
- Home Nursing Classes – taught homemakers the fundamentals in hygiene, prevention and control of communicable disease, maternal and child care, care of the sick in the home when nurses were at a premium during World War II.
- Immunizations – Public Health Nurses organized clinics in each of the counties but it was the Physicians who did the immunizing. Vaccinations were given for Smallpox, diphtheria, and Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever.
- Tuberculin testing was done on school children which was funded by the Wyoming Tuberculosis Association. PHNs helped to arrange for sanatorium and post sanatorium care/rehabilitation. The State Department of Health provided a Portable X-ray Unit for use in counties. In Sheridan County in 1947 approximately 6400 people were x-rayed in Sheridan, and an additional 300 miners at coal mine.
- Schools– In many communities, the Public Health Nurse provided services to rural schools that did not have a school nurse. This included “inspections” for visual, dental, and hearing defects, head lice eradication and dispensing of cod liver oil.
- Birth Certificates – Public health Nurses were asked to assist the State Department of Vital Statistics in securing a more complete birth registration. Teachers would get the “necessary information” on any student entering schools without a birth certificate. She would give this to the Public Health Nurse who would forward it on to the State Department.
- Miss Marian Chladek, State Public Health Nursing Director
- Immunizations included Diphtheria-whooping cough-Tetanus, Smallpox, Tick Fever. High incidence of measles. There was a considerable amount of time spent in preparation for the Salk Vaccination program (Polio Vaccine developed)
- Tuberculosis – A mobile x-ray unit was available for use throughout the state; this was discontinued in 1955 due to lack of legislative appropriation.
- Public Health Nursing Course Becomes Accredited at the University of Wyoming
- Jan Miner – regional PH supervisor
- PHN Service in Wyoming provides home health services under Medicare and Medicaid in 1965
- PH State Nursing Directors: Miss Marian Chladek and Elta Kennedy
- Dr. Cohen, State Health Office, Director of Health and Social Services
- Certified Home Health Agencies – the majority of the counties were certified HHAgencies;
- Late 70s – all supervisors moved to Cheyenne
- Uniforms Ordered out of the Hopkins Catalog
- Informatics Done on “dailies” – time and tracking sheet submitted by each county on all nursing staff on a weekly basis.
- 1977 – The original Swine Flu – predicted but not manifested
- Immunization Mandatory: The only immunizations were DPT, Polio and MMR. First Immunization law was written in the late 70s.
- State PHN Directors: Elta Kennedy, Toma Nisbet, JoAnn Blevens
- Energy Boom
- Food inspection transferred WDH to the Department of Agriculture
- 1984 – HIV C & T started with the discovery of AIDS
- 1989 – Beginning of computer era – computers cost $10,000.
- State reorganization – DFS split out,
- 35/65% split between counties and state;
- Institute of Medicine came out with the “Core Functions of Public Health”
- State Public Health Nursing Director – JoAnn Blevens
- Pilot: Best Beginnings, NFP
- 1st exposure to “Best Practices”
- Title V Funding all at state level until now
- Beginning of Health Planning – initially used the “PATCH” process
- Began immunizing adolescents for Hepatitis B
- Beginning of the technology age – cell phones, emails, computers,
- Case Management/LT screening
- MCH Block Grant
- Y2K Public Health Changed perspective to Preparedness.
- Emergency Preparedness Planning
- Immunization: Registry implemented
- MCH: TANF funding, Home Visitation law
- PDAs, GPS, Digital cameras, two way radios, laptops
- Satellite conferences, webcasts
- Emerging infectious diseases
- Meth, Hep C, West Nile
- 9/11 – expanded Emergency Preparedness
- Electronic PHNI