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Community Flu shot clinics

January 18th, 2013 Leave a comment Go to comments

Today, I spent my morning volunteering at a flu shot clinic at the brand new Brewer, Maine Community School.  My name is on a list with the State of Maine called Maine Responds.  My name landed on that list a few years ago when we had massive flu shot clinics in Bangor because of the Swine Flu scare and epidemic.  I love volunteering and doing this work to help preserve public health in my area.

The new school in Brewer impressed me.  I met and talked  with the school nurse, Carol.   She offered a tour of their school health clinic.  Jeesh, I remember my school nurse’s office and it was the size of a closet.  When I substituted for a regular school nurse in a different bedroom community outside of Bangor, same thing….a closet size room with a cot for sick children that needed to lie down.   Carols office was so exciting. She had her own space with supplies, records and medications.  There was a separate exam room with 2 cots…but what really floored me was the  in-school  medical clinic with dental services and regular medical services.  Two days a week a Family Nurse Practitioner visits from Penobscot Community Health Services up the road.   The children are seen by appointment and a sliding scale fee is arranged.  In other words, children in need can get care for free.  Wow…we have come a long way.  This is a community oriented and patient centered way to meet the needs of all children, no matter the financial circumstances at home.

I remember small  children coming into Walk in Care at Eastern Maine Medical Center, where I worked in the 90s.   Too many of them had horrible cavities. Some of their teeth were just stubs and they were infected and in pain.  Some of these children had never sat in a dentist’s chair and of course they had not been taught proper flossing and brushing.  Diet was another problem.  Now, these kids can be cared for  and educated about their health AND their teeth right in the school in Brewer.   This needs to happen everywhere.  No child should be ‘different’ than another when it comes to physical and dental health.

I felt so good coming home from my little excursion today.  I learned that in places, there is progress in healthcare education and maintenance…..and what better place to start than in our children’s schools?



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