April 7 is World Health Day, and the World Health Organization has chosen the theme “Support Nurses and Midwives” in hopes of boosting the health care workforce worldwide. What a timely theme! That nurses are now among the workers on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic makes the theme “Support Nurses” all the more poignant.

The Maine Public Health Association and the American Public Health Association are observing National Public Health Week, from April 6 through 12, with a different public health topic featured each day. On Tuesday, the topic is “maternal and child health.” Some may consider this topic to be inclusive of public health nurses, who have long been and continue to be champions of maternal and child health. Yet, why not support nurses by making them visible? Why not acknowledge their vital contributions? Why not proclaim their worth?

The previous governor tried to put public health nursing in Maine out of business, but he did not succeed. Now, finally, with new leadership, Maine has a growing public health nursing workforce, not a minute too soon.

In honor of World Health Day and National Public Health Week, my heart and thanks go out to all nurses everywhere. In particular, as we battle the coronavirus pandemic, I am grateful for all my colleagues working in acute care settings, especially in emergency departments and intensive care units, as well as for the public health nurses caring for communities throughout Maine. Supporting nurses is essential for public health.

Martha Eastman, R.N., NP-C

Bangor

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