Carcross Health Centre shares a new mobile community health nurse with Teslin for the next year. (Lawrie Crawford/Yukon News)

By Lawrie Crawford, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Three community health nurses have been hired in a trial program aimed at providing more immunization and public health support to rural Yukon.

With the switch from the original mass-vaccinations in large community venues, to scheduled appointments on intermittent days in community health centres, government responded to the need for additional support.

So far, three positions have been filled in Mayo, Haines Junction and Teslin/Carcross. The latter nurse alternates weeks between Teslin and Carcross, while the Haines Junction nurse supports immunization clinics along the north Alaska Highway.

The mobile positions are one-year trial positions, and advertise a four-days-on, four-days-off work schedule, including weekends.

Recruitment opened on Nov. 26 through Yukon Communicable Disease Control. According to the job posting, nurses are expected to fill “expanded practice roles” usually limited to physicians, including blood work and other diagnostic testing.

The advantages of the program are already felt, according to Samantha Henney, an online communications manager from the Executive Council Office.

“The benefit was immediate in a reduction of overtime and medevacs, and increased vaccination rates and public health education in those communities,” Henney said in an email.

“With nursing shortages across the country, this is good news for our teams and for Yukoners.”

Community health nurses are a specialty area of nursing practice focussed on community health programs such as: wellness for preschool and school age children; health promotion; educational programming; as well as immunization and prevention.

A community nurse-in-charge was not made available to comment on the additional staffing by press time.

This item is reprinted with permission from Yukon News, Yukon. See article HERE.

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