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Jefferson County Public Health Service nurse honored

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Jenny M. Scudder knew 19 years ago she wanted to become a nurse.

Then just 15 years old, Mrs. Scudder watched Jefferson County Public Health Service nurse Patricia M. Barton care for her ill grandmother in 1993. Her grandmother developed bedsores on her legs and had become chair- and bed-bound.

“Tricia was so patient in explaining everything,” Mrs. Scudder said. “I have a big family; we were all there. She made everyone feel at ease.”

It was then, Mrs. Scudder said, that she learned the most important tool to have in a nursing career: excellent bedside manner.

Mrs. Scudder began working at Jefferson County Public Health Service as a nurse only a month ago, after having worked in a hospital setting for two years. Work and motherly duties slowed the nursing education process, she said, but she finally graduated in 2010 with a nursing degree from Jefferson Community College.

In recognition of National Nurses Week, May 6 to 12, Mrs. Barton was surprised Thursday during an agency staff meeting with the recognition and appreciation Mrs. Scudder gave her for having such an impact on her so long ago. Jefferson County Supervising Public Health Nurse Donna R. Grant read a brief story about how the two connected.

“I’m just doing what I love; I had no idea the impact — the lasting impact,” Mrs. Barton said. “That was a long time ago.”

She said the surprise was a wonderful way to help celebrate her 22nd year as a public health nurse with the agency.

“You always learn here; there’s no reason to get stale and bored,” Mrs. Barton said.

Agency Director Jean A. Bilow said it’s important to share those stories of impact at the national, state and local levels.

“Sometimes, as nurses, we’re so busy practicing the science that we forget who blazed the trail, moving comfort care into a profession,” she said. “It’s an integral part of the delivery of health-care services.”

Both Mrs. Scudder and Mrs. Barton said they had experience working in a hospital setting but feel more connected to their patients doing home care.

Mrs. Scudder said if someone was thinking about becoming a nurse and wanted to explore the public health route, he or she could call Jefferson County Public Health Service at 786-3770 to possibly set up a job shadow day.

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