Heidi Burns - new Public Health Nurse

As of September 25, the Haakon County Public Health Nurse working for the South Dakota Department of Health is Heidi Burns. Also, there are new office hours.

Graduating from Philip High School, Burns has since earned a Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree from South Dakota State University. A Registered Nurse, Burns fills in at Philip Health Services when needed and is not working at the Public Health Office on the first floor of the county courthouse.

"I worked as a clerk in my dad's store after classes when I was in high school," said Burns. Her father, Milo Zeeb, owns and operates Zeeb's Pharmacy. "Dad's occupation might not have been an influence before I became a nurse, but it has been helpful in my studies. I like biology and seeing how the human body works. I like seeing people get better. That is why I wanted to be a nurse."

After college, she came back to Philip to work at Philip Health Services. When she and her husband, Craig, had their son, Wakely, Heidi cut back on her work hours at PHS Inc., though still filled in as needed. Now that Wakely is older, Heidi has accepted the Public Health Nurse position because, "I knew that I would like who I would be working with; the community, young mothers and children."

Coreen Roseth fills the office clerical worker position. "She is an indispensible resource to me and this office. She's a wealth of knowledge and is so organized," said Burns. "Everyone has been so welcoming and I'm really enjoying my new position here."

Burns officially works for the South Dakota Department of Health, though does provide quarterly reports to the Haakon County Board of Commissioners. "Lately, I've been spending a lot of time in Pierre with orientations, giving flu shots and training at in-services," said Burns.

The Public Health Office primarily deals with WIC (Women, Infants and Children), baby care services such as guidance and counseling for expectant mothers, family planning, immunizations, and "a little bit on general community services such as emergency preparedness."

For such an office, it is not economically feasible to do some things, for example to have less called for perishable vaccines such as for tetanus shots. The health service does work with larger sections of the population, like when a mumps outbreak hit South Dakota last winter. People needed vaccinations and the state provided adequate supplies of vaccines and provided nurses, such as Burns. Burns has already assisted in many flu clinics. The health office also contracts with public schools for vision, hearing and scoliosis screening.

The Haakon County Public Health Office is open Tuesday,

Wednesday and Thursday from 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

"I definitely want to work as the Public Health Nurse for as long as they will let me. I'm really enjoying it; even looking forward to getting more education in the future," said Burns.