The Herald-Sun from Durham, North Carolina on November 11, 1951 · 35
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The Herald-Sun from Durham, North Carolina · 35

Durham, North Carolina
Issue Date:
Sunday, November 11, 1951
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Features Editorials Books And Music Section Four— Ten Pages Sunday November 11 1951 A Public Health Nurse— In The Fight To Prevent Disease NURSE SESSOMS WEIGHS two-months-old baby boy The mother breast-feeding the child is petting less than a pint of imlk each day Mrs advised her to use a dried millt formula so that she could get more who is Sessoms Mrs Sessoms Has Important Teaching Job By WALTER CARROLL Herald Staff Writer Lent week In e diamal little (hack seven milea from Chapel Hill a public health nuree talked quietly to the mother of five illegitimate' children A fragment of corn bread on the kitchen table waa covered with file a The angry lnaecta buzzed everywhere striking pots ' and pans sailing from soiled diapers on ths floor to roost on the rims of drinking glasses and the lips of shabbily dressed children The nurse Lena Sessoms had finished her visit to the family She asked if she might return the following week to talk to the mother about birth control then she left This was one of several visits that had taken Mrs Sessoms to widely scattered areas of Orange County during the course of the day Her first stop was at the Carrboro grammar school wheie she informed the principal T S Turbyfill that 174 of his 328 stu- dents need dental attention Later in the day Mrs Sessoms called on an aged midwife to check her equipment In the afternoon the nurse called on a tuberculosis patient in the country to show the woman bow she could cut down her milk bill by using a dried milk formula I A Missionary A public health nurse is in the best sense of the word a missionary She is an integral part of her county or district Health Department a county state and Federal supported organization aimed at the prevention of disease and the promotion of good health Your Public Health Department is not as many believe a welfare agency devoted to the poor It serves rveryone and the services of the department are many beginning long before birth and extending to death and registration of death certificates Broadly the services of your Health Department include vital statistics communicable disease control tuberculosis control infant and preschool work school health adult health maternal health crippled children sanitation and education The basis of the entire program is education The public health nurse focuses her attention on the family The pay she receives for 12 months of work is less than the average North Carolina school teacher receives for nine months' work She must be a graduate of an accepted school of nursing must hsve the requirements for regls-1 tration with the North Carolina State Board of Nurse Examiners and must pass the Merit System Examination for the job she holds The series of positions established by the Merit System range from the Registered Nurse in Public Heelth to the Educatiooel Supervisor who is required to have degree in Public Health Nursing and yeara of varied Public Health experience In addition to her base salary the nurse receive a travel allowance but she must provide her own automobile Her Headquarters MRS SESSOMS CHECKS the equipment of 75-year:o1d Mr Minnie Thomp-gon a midwife A midwife is under the direct supervision of the public health nurae If the cane I complicated a doctor must be called Mrs Ihompsons philosophy: "They come to me when they ain't got no money : "one OF MRS SESSOMS' jobs ia wok in clinics held at various schools in the county Here she helps Ur Fred rattowrm examine a baby at the Carrboro achooL Orange Person Chatham end Lee Counties co-operate in maintaining a District Health Department Its headquarters is in Chapel Hill but it maintain office in Hillsboro Roxboro PitU-horo Siler City and Sanford Dr O David Garvin is District Health Officer Ilia staff consists of two Assistant Health Officers a Supervising Public Health Nune 14 Public Health Nurses an engineer five sanitarians eight clerical aorker a laboratory technician and a part time veterinarian in Orange County Mil Lena Sessoma confines her work to the Chapel Hill area though she is at times called to Hillsboro to do clinical work A typical week (or Mr Setsoms went something like this: Two Mondavi ago the went to Murphy School to examine the eyes and teeth of students On ths way the stopped to administer typhoid shots to an entire family In the sfiernoonshe took s student nurse to the N C Cerebral Palsy Hospital to acquaint her with the resources available in the area On Tuesday morning Mil Sessoma helped a doctor give physical examinations at Murphy School In the afternoon the nurse visited the homes of school children and talked to their parents about rec-ommended treatment On Wednesday morning Mr Ses-tomi went Into a alaft huddle with Nurse Supervisor Edith Brock er and Dr Garvin In the afternoon sha visited the homes of expectant mothers On Thursday morning she gavo physical Inspections at the Carrboro School and in the afternoon participated in a venereal disease clinic On Friday morning Mrs Sessoma visited mothers with new babies helped them with feeding prob-lems She spent Ihe afternoon vaccinating children against smallpox whooping eouch and diphtheria For half of Saturday MRS LENA SESSOMS public health nurse walks average SC school teacher for her work Herjobis toward cabin in background to make call on expectant the prevention of disease and the spreading of the gos- mother A public health nurse is in the best sense of pel of better health whitlow S the word a missionary She receives less pay than the —(Staff Photos by vY hitley) Mrs Seisomi continued her work with children in the immunization clinic She had Saturday afternoon and Sunday off 7 Got So Many' Last Tuesday morning Nurse Sc-ssoini visited a Negro family a remote rection a mile or so from the Durham County line She examined and weighed a two-months-old baby The mother who waa breast-feeding the child was getting lea than a pint of milk a day The nurse suggested that she use the dry milk formula so that she could consume more milk She examined the teeth of two boys who do not attend school because they live two miles from the school bus line Their second teeth were decaying The youngsters were wearing csst-off girls coats much too small for comfort The house was filthy and swarming with flies When Mrs Sessoms aaked the woman if she had con-sultcd the baby book she had been given previously the mother answered "No ma’m 1 got so many children 1 amt got tme to do nothin-- The mue gave her another booklet concerning children and recommended foods the family should be eating Mrs Sessoms was patient She knew what the family could afford Her suggestions wert economical She advised the woman to bring her children to clinics at the Health Department The nurse completed her visit by checking ths young mothers blood pressure and taking sample of her blood As she drove sway from the house Mrs Sessoms was not depressed by what A TUBERCULOSIS PATIENT In the country' could not afford as much milk as she needed Here Mrs Sessoms shows the woman a daughter how to mix the dried milk formula The dried milk costs only 42 cents a packaga and produces five quarts of milk she had seen “Ill see them again next week Little ny little they’ll learn they will improve My job i to help them see that thev can help themselves- She added that the Negro School principal would have to be contacted again to see what could be done about the two small boys A Serious Problem The construction of new hospitals in the area though much needed will have to some extent an adverse cfiect on the aervire of the Health Department A nurse might earn twice llie amount of money working in a hospital than she would crusading in the ranks of the Health Department A public health nurse in Orange County receives no retirement benefits or protection According to Dr Garvin there ire already staff vacancies There are vacancies for e nutritionist a health educator and three public health nurses "To fit in with the developing medical center in Chapel Mill" Dr Garvin said will require an increase iu the funds available and the progiam will need to be adapted to as to best serve the interest of the people in the area and avoid overlapping of services” A staff of workers to meet present needs Dr Garvin said would require more medical personnel mm a public health nurses more sanitarians dental staff members tnone budgeted) additional health educator (one budgeted) public health uivesli-gators i none budgeted) additional clerks and specialized work- rJn the meanwhile Public Health rrusaders like Mrs Sessoms will continue making their rounds patiently spreading the gospel of belter health - AFTER EXAMINING THE teeth of 129 Carrboro school children Mm Sea-gums found that 174 of them need dental attention She will visit the parents to see what can be done about getting them to the dentist

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