“I really love mentoring and teaching. That’s always been an area of passion for me. When I’m able to do that and help people develop – that’s exciting for me,” says Kim.
Public health includes areas such as: provincial immunization programs (all ages); early childhood support for child health clinics and child health assessment; care during and after pregnancy; harm reduction; communicable disease (e.g., measles); school programs; and sexual and reproductive health. All of these areas support a complete state of physical and mental health that enables a person to lead a socially and economically productive life.
One of many public health resource nurses across the Northern Health region, Kim provides support to nurses, both experienced and new, to the practice area of public health. She works closely with them to develop orientation plans and supports them with their practice. She’s there to answer any questions and works alongside registered nurses (RNs), licensed practical nurses (LPNs), and registered psychiatric nurses (RPNs) in clinics when they’re new and learning. She provides information to nurses to keep them up to date on best practices, new practice changes, and regional or provincial programs in the various areas of public health.
Kim started in her role as a public health resource nurse when the role was first created at Northern Health in 2016. Preventive public health leadership provides guidance and then Kim is able to develop the role at a community level.
“Because I’m one of the original public health resource nurses, I’ve been able to be really involved in the development of the role and how it looks,” says Kim.
Kim walks alongside the nurses in their own practice and helps them develop their role. She gets to watch them become well-rounded primary care nurses – able to provide all services to their community. Kim can also sit in with a primary care nurse when they see a patient and provide in-the-moment support in more difficult situations.
Kim hopes that this story will show nursing students that there are so many nursing positions out there that go beyond providing direct care to patients. She encourages all nurses to learn about a variety of nursing roles and to see how nurses can support other nurses to provide the best care they can!
Editor's note: May 6-12 is Nursing Week! This story is one of several we'll post this week to celebrate and showcase the many different types of nursing roles in Northern Health in honour of Nursing Week!Kim Hughes is a public health resource nurse in Prince Rupert, supporting primary care nurses, by providing them with practice support and mentorship in the area of public health.