Longtime Belgrade resident and veteran nurse Christine Merckens, BSN, RN, was appointed the Town's Health Officer, a position required by state law, by the Board of Selectpersons on Nov. 5, 2019. Following is a short Q&A she submitted for the Belgrade Bulletin, the Town's newsletter.
- Experience: Since Nov. 5, 2019. I have worked 37 years in nursing, including on a surgical floor, in the recovery room and in ICU. For more than 25 years now, I have worked in homecare and hospice.
- What are your responsibilities as the health officer? Working collaboratively with public health nurses, other local health officers, environmental health officers and other professionals who share the goal of improving and caring for the health of their communities. As Belgrade’s health officer, I will help the community identify and/or respond to any immediate or potential health risks through resident queries or through assessment.
- What’s the most rewarding aspect of your job? The same thing I find rewarding in my current role as a homecare nurse – working with patients or the community to problem-solve ways to improve their health situations with a focus on prevention.
- What about your job might surprise citizens? The service of local health officers has a long and proud history that began in 1885! Maine law requires all LHO’s to report diseases, conditions or public health threats they deem to be of public health importance. Maine Center for Disease Control & Prevention provides procedures for a uniform system of reporting, recording and collecting information concerning notifiable diseases and conditions.
- What’s the one thing you most want residents to know about tending to their and their families’ health? One of the most effective treatments for the protection of communicable diseases is the practice of good handwashing. Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are unavailable.
|Christine Merckens||Health Officer||207-877-4705|