Working with Public Health

My current RN position is within walking distance of home so I have amp’d up my steps by commuting by foot. As you can see I also killed it on Sunday, sadly no golfing last weekend I worked a day shift… I know, a 12 hr day.. who am I ?

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One thing I do need to work on is grabbing my umbrella every day.  Friday was the second time I would have had to hoof it home in the rain, alas I cut my walk time in half by catching the bus. I still arrived home completely soaked but it could have been worse, or so I tell myself.

I really haven’t taken the bus much since my placement downtown with public health ended in April. And it got me thinking about some of the areas I worked with under the Chronic Disease Prevention umbrella. And public transportation was one, whether attending committee meetings with senior’s about getting around Hamilton, or witnessing the drama at LRT meetings living within a city that has a good public transit system can equate to the overall population’s health.

Have you ever considered how often or how far you drive your car? It honestly took this experience for me to really think about it. Also I was flat broke and had a free bus pass being a university student – and had a very cute bus boyfriend on my commute mornings, sadly our relationship ended with my graduating. *tear* So why is this a nurse’s concern well some ideas currently being researched are the chronic medical conditions related to physical activity and chronic conditions, also air quality and mental well-being. The nurse can be a voice of reason in a room full of concerned residents and politicians, the nurse may or may not be heard. 😞

On that same front you may or may not have noticed the cycling improvements happening all over the city. I had the pleasure of mentoring level 3 nursing students during their research course and we were compiling data for a report related to the usage of the city’s bike lanes. You may be surprised when this winter we stood outside, or huddled in my car counting the bicycle commuters, not as many helmets as I would have liked to see, but cycling safety is another public health nurse’s (PHN) area of expertise. 🚴

And the third major project I worked with was the Healthy Kids Community Challenge. For those living on Hamilton mountain with school aged kids you may know what I am referring to. It seems there is a public opinion that all of the projects and funding go to those living downtown and there is no disparity on the mountain. This 4ish year project really brought to light how distorted that opinion is. Some of the disadvantages of living on the mountain and having a limited income is that public transportation is much more difficult. How does one buy groceries and get to and from work when on a limited income with kids. Some of the comments discussed within this project is that there are families buying all of their groceries from the Big B convenience store! Consider that a sec. I mean- limited income, and feeding a family because that is what is within walking distance from where you live.  So the question asked by public health relates to identifying these areas and trying to improve access to vegetables and fruits so that kids can develop healthy habits and maintain healthy weights thus growing up with less chronic medical conditions. Did I loose you there?

My preceptor was the lead in community engagement so that meant I spent a good amount of time talking with kids and caregivers about veggies and fruit. I even created a game (good learning experience for me)  to help kids learn about different veggies and fruits.

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I spent so much time learning about the city and how it functions. I feel as though I am better informed now, never a bad thing. So I can advocate for change that will be better for the city in the long run. Like LRT– woah sore spot with people, but it really will be better for future generations. There is already a shift in thinking about things like public transit, environmental impact and how one chooses to spend their money. Or maybe that is just me. I love how much money I have been saving only driving my car a few times per week and it is usually for groceries as I live in what is considered a food swamp. Not quite a desert, as I have a few convenience stores and an extremely overpriced 24 hour grocery store. So to save a few bucks on my shopping, I am privileged to have a car to drive me to No Frills, or Fortinos so that I can control where my money is spent and the quality of food I purchase.

On that note, are you aware of the changes being made to Canada’s Food Guide? As I still subscribe to multiple Vegan newsletters and blogs I heard hints of this weeks ago from Veg News. But it appears as though Beef, butter and cheese will play a much smaller role in Health Canada’s daily eating recommendations. And it is creating quite a stir.

One quote from the article states;

“We’re not talking necessarily eliminating animal foods altogether, but it is going towards more plant-based,” said Hasan Hutchinson, director general of nutritional policy and programs at Health Canada.

Read the full article here Canada’s Expected New Food Guide Has Meat, Dairy Lobbies Up In Arms.

I think this will cause quite a stir overall, and promotion of a more plant based diet, I am all for that!

And just for fun. Take a look at this list of best musical moments in films from the Toronto radio station Indy 88 Best Musical Moments in Film. 

It really is a great list, and if it’s been a while since you’ve seen these flicks – what a good way to hide from the news of what Trump is doing now, and waiting for the next Game of Thrones episode.

Catch ya later! Have you missed a post – Click here to get caught up!

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