You Make a Difference: DSHS celebrates Nurses Month — Developmental Disabilities Administration
Happy Nurses Month — a time to celebrate and acknowledge the vital lifeline nurses provide, from critical care and patient advocacy to education and support.
The Department of Social and Health Services has about 1,300 nurses and they all play a big role in transforming lives, particularly at the agency’s 24/7 facilities.
Gov. Jay Inslee proclaimed May Nurses month. This year’s theme is “You Make a Difference.” Gov. Inlsee said, “it’s a nod to the sheer numbers of nurses, their unparalleled impact during the pandemic and to health care, and an open invitation to #ThankaNurse for enriching our lives and the world we live in.”
This month, DSHS is sharing profiles of some of the nurses who make a difference in the lives of so many patients.
INFECTIOUS DISEASE NURSES
We chatted with Developmental Disabilities Administration nurses Julia Browning and Julietta Davidson to learn more about their work.
Tell us about your work
Julietta Davidson: As the SOCR (State-Operated Community Residential) Infection Control Coordinator, I try my best to help our SOCR program staff work in a safe environment with regard to contagious diseases and also to keep our clients healthy. I do this by making sure our protocols are up to date with the latest CDC and DOH recommendations. I also look at the tools we have — like effective PPE and disinfectants — to make sure they are what we need and make changes if necessary (and if I am able to). I visit the client homes to see how things are going and evaluate if there are other issues that need attention. Definitely not a glamorous job, but I believe in the processes that keep our clients and staff safe and healthy.
Julia Browning: I am an Infection Prevention Nurse from Rainier School. My goal is to eradicate infectious processes within our facility by preventing the spread of germs. This is done by researching guidance from CDC and Department of Health, providing education about disease transmission, monitoring facility infection rates along with community data and ensuring that proper infection control techniques are followed.
How was your job affected or changed by the pandemic?
JB: The pandemic has presented various challenges for infection control with frequently changing CDC guidelines and unpredictable transmission rates. As the Infection Prevention Nurse, I am often the one who notifies individuals that they have tested positive, been in close contact, need to test or are simply not wearing the proper PPE- none of which people are excited to hear.
Nonetheless, I do it to protect people. Since I have interviewed numerous people infected with COVID, I have witnessed the ugly side of the illness. During the worst times of the pandemic, this has motivated me to be diligent in this area of work even when it meant working long hours or consecutive weekends.
JD: Before the pandemic, most people outside of healthcare didn’t know about PPE, isolation and quarantine or other infection prevention-related things. Now everyone knows. What has not changed is that everyone still hates wearing PPE.
What does nurses week/nurses month mean to you?
JD: Besides the free Cinnabon, it is seeing the recognition for this path chosen, this calling, this physically hard and emotionally draining work. Not for me personally. So many nurses around the world have such incredibly difficult jobs, yet they keep showing up day after day. I applaud my peers and it brings me joy to see them recognized.
JB: The pandemic has created opportunity for nurses to demonstrate compassion through courage in the face of uncertainty. Nurses’ month is important to me because it is a celebration of the dedication that every nurse pours into serving others. To recognize nurses means to notice that perseverance- the will to make people feel better when they are ill or, in the case of infection prevention, the fight to prevent disease altogether.
What can people do to show their appreciation to the nurses in their lives?
JB: People can show their appreciation to nurses in their own lives simply by paying it forward- demonstrating kindness, remembering patience and caring for others.
JD: I think most nurses will agree that the best thing everyone can do to show appreciation for nurses is to lead a healthy lifestyle. We like taking care of people but you gotta do your part as well!
Thanks to Julia Browning, Julietta Davidson and all of DSHS’ Hero Nurses. Happy Nurses Month!