At the February 15 Nodaway County Health Center board meeting, the board listened to Nurse Educator Tabitha Frank, RN, talk about her taking advantage of the workforce contract under PHEP.

She is going for her masters in nursing education from the Northwest Missouri State University fully accredited online program. The program will allow her to take one or two courses for each seven week block. She is going to do one course at a time and plans to finish by October 2024. The contract covers the $350 per credit hour and fees.

This has been a personal goal for Frank, who has been out of school for 18 years. It will add to her credentials and increase her skill sets.

“The board is proud of you for taking this challenge,” Secretary Charlotte Knorr said.

Administrator Tom Patterson is excited about the contract. He hasn’t seen funding available before to improve the agency’s personnel.

The health center is pre booking flu vaccines for the 2023-24 flu season.

The January communicable disease report listed 106 COVID cases, 116 influenza A cases, seven influenza B cases, and 39 influenza untyped.

Suzanne Von Behren, RN finished her classes to become a certified prevention specialist and has applied to receive the official certification from the state. Patterson believes this will open up some programs for the health center.

“Nationally COVID-19 cases are down and the federal public health emergency declaration will end on Thursday, May 11,” Patterson said in his report. “COVID-19 will continue to be a reportable disease but frequency will likely change.

“Our ability to continue posting local case numbers in a timely fashion has been challenging for a while with cases reported through the state system … We will need to shift toward referring to state dashboard and CDC community profiles. We can provide precautionary information should case numbers get high, like we would with other communicable diseases but tracking daily cases is less and less manageable.”