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UW-Eau Claire faculty member receives public health nursing award

September 19, 2013
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Dr. Norah Airth-Kindree
EAU CLAIRE — A University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire faculty member was recently recognized by the Wisconsin Public Health Association for her contributions to the practice of public health nursing.

Dr. Norah Airth-Kindree, assistant professor of nursing, received the 2013 Academic Linkages Mary Adelaide Nutting Award. The award recognizes exemplary linkages between academia and practice at a local, regional or state level that advance public health nursing practice. Airth-Kindree was recognized alongside Margie Buchholz of the Eau Claire City-County Public Health Department (ECCCPHD).

"I am honored and humbled to receive this award with one of UW-Eau Claire's Community partners — the ECCCPHD," Airth-Kindree said. "Margie Buchholz, a public health nurse at the ECCCPHD, and I have collaborated together to provide excellent public health clinical experiences for BSN completion nursing students."

In her nomination letter, Kitty Rahl, MSN, RN, and director of nursing at the ECCCPHD, said that Airth-Kindree and Buchholz are a "dynamic duo."

"For example, accommodating nurse, student, client and clinic schedules to arrange a meaningful public health clinical experience for students is quite challenging," Rahl said. "Margie is a master at coordinating with all involved to minimize confusion and maximize the experience. Norah is very flexible and easy to reach to work out clinical plans."

According to Rahl, the two also worked together to develop a "Professional Code for Clinical Expectations," which is being implemented this semester at UW-Eau Claire. The contract outlines the expectations of student schedules, ethics, behavior and commitment to professionalism while they complete their clinical experiences.

Airth-Kindree and Buchholz began working with each other three years ago, when they participated in the Linking Education and Practice for Excellence in Public Health Nursing (LEAP) grant project. The overarching goal of the grant was to contribute to population health improvement and the reduction of health disparities by developing a sufficient, skilled, diverse and visible public health nursing workforce in Wisconsin.

"They have since 'leaped' from this springboard to fully demonstrate the project goals in practice," Rahl said.

Airth-Kindree has worked in a variety of settings in her nursing career, from adult intensive care to long-term care, to camp nursing to American Red Cross Blood Services nursing. She said she has seen the devastating effects of poor life styles — from financial burdens to unnecessary suffering — which is why she is committed to improving public health.

"If we can be proactive and focus our healthcare dollars on health promotion and prevention — to educate and encourage healthy lifestyles, we will enhance our lives and reduce our healthcare burden."

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OJ/DW

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