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Nurse's Week is honored by DHEC after pandemic response

DHEC nurses

Of the more than 84,000 nurses in South Carolina, DHEC employs approximately 350 public health nurses at its health clinics around the state. (Courtesy/DHEC)

The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) applauds South Carolina’s nurses during National Nurses Week, which began May 6.

“Our state’s nurses are nothing less than superheroes,” said Dr. Brannon Traxler, DHEC Public Health Director. “This has been highlighted for more than a year now as nurses have been on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic response, often serving as one of the first and last medical professionals a patient sees. Their devotion to caring for others at all times and in a variety of settings is unmatched, and I hope all South Carolinians will join me in celebrating all of our state’s nurses and recognizing them for the lifesaving and compassionate care they provide.”

Of the more than 84,000 nurses in South Carolina, DHEC employs approximately 350 public health nurses at its health clinics around the state where they provide services like immunizations, family planning, sexually transmitted infection services, maternal and child health services, and at-home wellness visits for first-time moms. DHEC public health nurses also assist with disease control, emergency sheltering, and case management.

Rebecca Morrison, DHEC’s State Director of Public Health Nursing, is an Advanced Practice Registered Nurse and has been a nurse for 26 years.

“Public health nurses touch the lives of all the residents of South Carolina through care of individuals and the community,” said Morrison. “In this unprecedented past year, DHEC’s public health nurses have demonstrated service excellence in the most challenging of circumstances. They exemplify nursing values through their dedication, commitment and compassion. I’m thankful for all of South Carolina’s outstanding nurses.”

DHEC’s public health nurses, in collaboration with contract or hourly nurses, play a key role in the state’s COVID-19 pandemic response by administering vaccinations, performing testing, and assisting with case investigations, contact monitoring and contact tracing.

Shenicka McCray, DHEC’s Upstate Region Nursing Director, has dedicated 24 years of service to the nursing field, with 21 of those years in public health.

“Our public health nurses are responsible for providing nursing care and meeting the needs within the clinic, home, and the community,” said McCray. “Our nursing staff are always on the frontlines of outbreaks and other public health crises, not just for COVID-19. I’d like to thank all of our state’s nurses for the selfless and essential care they provide, and their ability to embrace service, inspire innovation, and promote teamwork and excellence in all they do.”

DHEC maintains important partnerships with nursing organizations like the S.C. Nurses Association, S.C. Nurses Foundation and S.C. School Nurses Association. To learn more about National Nurses Week, visit the American Nursing Foundation at www.nursingworld.com or the South Carolina Nurses Association at www.scnurses.org.

Learn more about the services offered at DHEC public health clinics at www.scdhec.gov.