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By Denise Shannon
This week is a special week, National Nurses Week. We would like to take the time to recognize a nurse from the Clark County Health Department, Marlana Mack, who serves as one of the Public Health Nurses.
Marlana does many different things in her nursing position. “I do lots of vaccinations for children since we are the only place in Kahoka that actually does vaccines for children, and the health department does some vaccines for adults too”, said Mack.
Mack said, “We do lot of blood draws, because it’s so much cheaper here then to go through their insurance if deductibles aren’t met people can come in and get their blood pressures taken, blood sugars checked, and cholesterol checked.”
Mack works with several children’s health issues. “I’m the WIC Nurse. I do WIC Services twice a month.”
The Missouri WIC Services Program provides supplemental food, health care referrals, nutrition education, and breastfeeding promotion and support to eligible pregnant women, new mothers, breastfeeding and postpartum women, infants, and children up to age five.
“I also do a Maternal Child Health Contract, which focuses on child abuse, said Mack, “The contract was just renewed for five years.”
Mack and the Health Department will be doing community awareness and activities to help prevent child abuse. Mack stated, “Numbers may have gone up because of COVID. Kids were not being seen while we were not in school last year.”
“I am also a Childcare Health Consultant. I work with daycares, because they have to have training for 12 hours a year for it to keep their license, so I provide them with those trainings, and this year we have done CPR training so far”, said Mack.
As a childcare health consultant, she goes directly into daycares. “I can go into their daycares and do health promotions with the kids with things like hand washing, germs, not biting, and things like that.”
Mack started her nursing career by earning her bachelor’s degree with Culver-Stockton and Blessing with the College of Nursing.
“I started out at a Critical Access Hospital in Memphis, and I worked a variety of floors because it was just a 23-bed hospital.”
“And then I ended up going to Keokuk after that and worked O.B (obstetrics, or the the branch of medicine and surgery concerned with childbirth and the care of women giving birth) Then I actually took some time off and worked PRN, (as need arises) and raised my kids, and only worked a few days a month”, Mack said.
Mack said, “Then I went back to Memphis where I worked O.B., then I came here.”
After being asked how long she has worked here at the health department, Mack said, “I will be here three years on May 1st.”
What does she like best about her job? Mack said, “What I like best about my job is being able to meet the people in Clark County that I have not got the opportunity to meet yet, while also keeping up with the one’s that I have met and getting the opportunity to help everyone within the community is what I enjoy.”
Has nursing changed a lot since you began? “Nursing continues to evolve, I don’t know that it has been a lot different, it changes every year, this year has been very challenging with COVID”, said Mack.
“Nursing takes a lot of patience and compassion”, stated Mack, “Especially now because times have been crazy with COVID, things have changed and has really pushed nursing to its limits, and you have to be able to adjust to change and essentially just flow with it.”