Joyce Seavecki, Michigan
First of all, a nurse should expect the unexpected. Because of the migratory way of life for the migrant worker, they do not always know where they will be next week or next month; therefore, we must understand that they do not always have their medical records, immunization records, or income records.
I have been the outreach coordinator for nine years at our clinic and my job duties include supervising the outreach workers who register patients in about 20 different counties in Wisconsin. I have to direct them to the camps and factories and the times which are most convenient for them to register the people and their families for services. this means much communication with the grower or crew leader.
We do school screening, which includes children ages 6 weeks to 12 years. This not only includes physicals, but immunization, TB testing, lead screens and education. We have a team of Nurse Practitioners who do the actual physicals, nurses who do the immunizations, and our school team of university students who do the vision, hearing, blood pressures and Spanish translation for the nurses who are usually not bilingual. I go to the [schools} and coordinate these services and help with the screenings.
We also have a Primary Care Mobile Unit that goes directly to the farm camps and factories, and I coordinate these services. We do Paps, breast exams with vouchers for mammograms, blood pressure, blood sugars, hemoglobins, and any primary care services which with the nurse practitioners who go with us need help. These hours are very irregular, depending on what time the workers get in from the fields and what time the shifts are at the factories. Because of the distances we travel, we work anywhere from eight to twelve hours a day.
The most rewarding part of the job is bringing health services to the underserved and uninsured. The people are so gracious and appreciative of whatever services we provide.