COMMUNITY HEALTH NURSE

Tsawout First Nation employs one Community Health Nurse (CHN), who is available five days a week. The nurse has specialized knowledge in endocrinology (diabetes specifically) and general medicine. Responsibilities of the Community Health Nurse include:

  • Immunizations

  • Diabetes & Foot Care

  • Food & Nutrition

  • Pre & Post Natal Care

  • Well Baby Care

  • Sexual Health

  • First Aid Services

CONTACT

COMMUNITY HEALTH NURSE
(250) 652-1149 ext. 208
chn@tsawout.ca

NURSING SERVICES

IMMUNIZATIONS

 At the health centre we can give all routine immunizations covered by Health Canada. Please click the button to view the schedule for routine childhood immunizations.
Immunization Schedule

DIABETES & FOOT CARE

We have a Diabetes Conference Day every year, which is generally held in the fall. This day includes speakers on a variety of topics around diabetes. We include some self care activities as well as massage and foot care.

Foot care is offered to all diabetics living in the community. The goal of foot care is to prevent skin breakdown and foot ulcers. Once every 6 to 8 weeks the nurse will cut your toe nails, assess your feet for any changes to the skin, check for sensation and pulses and give your feet a massage to promote circulation.

We have access to the Aboriginal Diabetes Team through the office. They help us in the development of programs around diabetes. They also perform individual home visits for those living with diabetes around Southern Vancouver Island.

Learn More About Diabetes

FOOD & NUTRITION

Food is a vital part of anyone’s life. It has a great deal of meaning to people. Food is not only fuel for our bodies but it is also a way for us to relate and connect with others. As much as it is important to fill our bodies with the fuel that makes them run at their full potential, it is important to remember that we are also feeding the spirit. At the health centre, nutritious food plays an important role. We bring food into many of our events and programs. It is our aim to make sure that these foods are nutritious but at the same time nourishing to the spirit. Our goal is to work on changing dietary practices through demonstration. We focus on modifying foods that people already like into healthier alternatives.

An important part of food in this community is the traditional diet. Before colonization obesity and diabetes were basically unheard of among First Nations people. Fish and seafood are important staples to this area. Seafood was supplemented with fresh greens and roots as well as berries. This is a vastly different diet to the one eaten by most people these days. A traditional diet is harder to eat all the time these days due to shortages of certain traditional foods and shortage of time. Substitutions can be made to the traditional diet. Eating lean meats, salads and fresh fruit is similar in nutritional value to the traditional diet of the Coast Salish People.

PRE & POST NATAL CARE

At the Tsawout Health Centre we offer pre and post natal checks in addition to those that you have with your family doctor or OB/GYN. We can check your weight gain, your blood pressure, the baby’s heart rate and how your uterus is growing. We don’t do blood tests here other than finger poke blood sugar tests if you have gestational diabetes.

We also offer prenatal classes. These are tailored to the couple or woman having the baby. We can focus on any area of interest that you may have. Usually, the subjects we cover include the growth and development of the baby, changes in your body, what you should and should not be eating, and labour preparation techniques.

We offer a healthy eating program for all pregnant women and those with babies under 1 year of age. You will need a note from the doctor with your due date to sign up for the program. You will receive milk, eggs and juice on a weekly basis from the store as well as a fruit box once a month on good food box day.

The post natal program includes home visits as needed once you and your baby return home from the hospital. Breastfeeding is a strong focus of the post natal program. If you are having difficulties getting your baby to breastfeed please call the Health Centre and we will work with you and the baby to make breastfeeding a successful experience for you. Because our program is centered around encouraging breastfeeding we do not offer or supply formula.

We work closely with the Head Start Program. Our involvement includes things like car seat safety, infant growth and development, and healthy kid friendly cooking.

WELL BABY CARE

Along with your child’s immunizations, your baby will be checked on your visits for how they are growing and developing. We will talk about what your child is doing, what they are eating and how they are relating to others.One of the tools we use to see how your child is developing is the ages and stages questionnaire. Don’t worry if your child falls below the cut off in one area. All children develop at different rates. We will do a follow up with your child a couple of months later to see if they are still falling behind. If they are falling behind we will refer them to the South Vancouver Island Aboriginal Infant Development Program. This program is offered through the Victoria Native Friendship Centre.

At the Infant Development Program the staff will be able to do a more in-depth assessment of your child to determine what, if anything, needs to be put into place to help with your child’s development. Part of Well Baby Care is what your baby eats. Throughout the year we do workshops along with the Head Start Program about healthy eating. We discuss the pros and cons of breast feeding and bottle feeding, we talk about first foods and when to introduce them and we do child friendly cooking programs.

Any time you want to weigh or measure your baby feel free to drop by the health center to have your baby weighed and measured. We will be able to give you a print out of how your baby is growing, both in relation to themselves as well as where they are in relation to other babies. What we are looking for when we are looking at your baby’s growth is a pattern over time. If your baby is at about the 50th percentile at two months we expect them to stay at about the same percentile as they grow. It isn’t as important how big they are at any given visit as it is how big they are compared to how big they have been in the past.

SEXUAL HEALTH

Sexual health is all about making decisions for you. There is no right or wrong answer to how old you should be to date, have sex or decide to become a parent. What is important is that you go into these decisions with your eyes open. Sex and relationships aren’t something that “just happen” to you but rather something that you do when YOU are ready.

We have condoms available in the washrooms at the Health Centre. If you are curious about them and how to use them please ask the nurse. We can also put you in touch with the nurses at Island Sexual Health program. They run a clinic at the Peninsula Health Unit on Thursday evenings. They are able to offer other forms of birth control. Island Sexual Health can also test for Sexually Transmitted Infections.

We do free pregnancy tests at the Health Centre. Please wait until your period is late before coming in for a pregnancy test as the tests are not accurate until your period is late. If you get a positive test it is important to make an appointment with your doctor as soon as possible to ensure a healthy pregnancy.

There is a new vaccine on the market for girls in grade 9. It is called Guardasil and it protects girls against HPV (genital warts). It is estimated that about 70% of women will have at least one HPV infection in their lives. Most of the time it is harmless and heals by itself. The HPV virus can lead to cervical cancer and that is why the vaccine was introduced. If you need more information before deciding for or against this vaccine please come in and talk about it with the nurse.

In the near future we hope to be offering pre and post HIV test counselling. The staff at the health centre will be able to direct you to the appropriate resources until the counselling is offered here.

FIRST AID SERVICES

We have a fully stocked first aid cabinet at the health centre which is available to all community members. It is accessible even when the nurse is not in the office. We have other staff in the office who are first aid certified and will be able to offer you assistance in an emergency.
We are able to assess you at the health center and either treat you here if it is something fairly minor or refer you either to the walk in clinic or the hospital, depending on the severity of the injury. If you need something from the first aid cupboard please let someone at the office know, so we are able to track what is being used and restock supplies. We do not carry many medications on site, however we have adult Tylenol and Advil for those who need it on an emergency basis. Both of these medications are covered by Non-insured Health Benefits with a prescription from your doctor. We occasionally hold first aid courses through the health centre. If this is something you are interested in doing. Let the health centre know and we will be able to connect you with the next scheduled first aid course.

NURSING SERVICES

At the health centre we can give all routine immunizations covered by Health Canada. Please click the button to view the schedule for routine childhood immunizations.

We have a Diabetes Conference Day every year, which is generally held in the fall. This day includes speakers on a variety of topics around diabetes. We include some self care activities as well as massage and foot care.

Foot care is offered to all diabetics living in the community. The goal of foot care is to prevent skin breakdown and foot ulcers. Once every 6 to 8 weeks the nurse will cut your toe nails, assess your feet for any changes to the skin, check for sensation and pulses and give your feet a massage to promote circulation.

We have access to the Aboriginal Diabetes Team through the office. They help us in the development of programs around diabetes. They also perform individual home visits for those living with diabetes around Southern Vancouver Island.

Learn more about diabetes

Food is a vital part of anyone’s life. It has a great deal of meaning to people. Food is not only fuel for our bodies but it is also a way for us to relate and connect with others. As much as it is important to fill our bodies with the fuel that makes them run at their full potential, it is important to remember that we are also feeding the spirit. At the health centre, nutritious food plays an important role. We bring food into many of our events and programs. It is our aim to make sure that these foods are nutritious but at the same time nourishing to the spirit. Our goal is to work on changing dietary practices through demonstration. We focus on modifying foods that people already like into healthier alternatives.

An important part of food in this community is the traditional diet. Before colonization obesity and diabetes were basically unheard of among First Nations people. Fish and seafood are important staples to this area. Seafood was supplemented with fresh greens and roots as well as berries. This is a vastly different diet to the one eaten by most people these days. A traditional diet is harder to eat all the time these days due to shortages of certain traditional foods and shortage of time. Substitutions can be made to the traditional diet. Eating lean meats, salads and fresh fruit is similar in nutritional value to the traditional diet of the Coast Salish People.

At the Tsawout Health Centre we offer pre and post natal checks in addition to those that you have with your family doctor or OB/GYN. We can check your weight gain, your blood pressure, the baby’s heart rate and how your uterus is growing. We don’t do blood tests here other than finger poke blood sugar tests if you have gestational diabetes.

We also offer prenatal classes. These are tailored to the couple or woman having the baby. We can focus on any area of interest that you may have. Usually, the subjects we cover include the growth and development of the baby, changes in your body, what you should and should not be eating, and labour preparation techniques.

We offer a healthy eating program for all pregnant women and those with babies under 1 year of age. You will need a note from the doctor with your due date to sign up for the program. You will receive milk, eggs and juice on a weekly basis from the store as well as a fruit box once a month on good food box day.

The post natal program includes home visits as needed once you and your baby return home from the hospital. Breastfeeding is a strong focus of the post natal program. If you are having difficulties getting your baby to breastfeed please call the Health Centre and we will work with you and the baby to make breastfeeding a successful experience for you. Because our program is centered around encouraging breastfeeding we do not offer or supply formula.

We work closely with the Head Start Program. Our involvement includes things like car seat safety, infant growth and development, and healthy kid friendly cooking.

Along with your child’s immunizations, your baby will be checked on your visits for how they are growing and developing. We will talk about what your child is doing, what they are eating and how they are relating to others.One of the tools we use to see how your child is developing is the ages and stages questionnaire. Don’t worry if your child falls below the cut off in one area. All children develop at different rates. We will do a follow up with your child a couple of months later to see if they are still falling behind. If they are falling behind we will refer them to the South Vancouver Island Aboriginal Infant Development Program. This program is offered through the Victoria Native Friendship Centre.

At the Infant Development Program the staff will be able to do a more in-depth assessment of your child to determine what, if anything, needs to be put into place to help with your child’s development. Part of Well Baby Care is what your baby eats. Throughout the year we do workshops along with the Head Start Program about healthy eating. We discuss the pros and cons of breast feeding and bottle feeding, we talk about first foods and when to introduce them and we do child friendly cooking programs.

Any time you want to weigh or measure your baby feel free to drop by the health center to have your baby weighed and measured. We will be able to give you a print out of how your baby is growing, both in relation to themselves as well as where they are in relation to other babies. What we are looking for when we are looking at your baby’s growth is a pattern over time. If your baby is at about the 50th percentile at two months we expect them to stay at about the same percentile as they grow. It isn’t as important how big they are at any given visit as it is how big they are compared to how big they have been in the past.

Sexual health is all about making decisions for you. There is no right or wrong answer to how old you should be to date, have sex or decide to become a parent. What is important is that you go into these decisions with your eyes open. Sex and relationships aren’t something that “just happen” to you but rather something that you do when YOU are ready.

We have condoms available in the washrooms at the Health Centre. If you are curious about them and how to use them please ask the nurse. We can also put you in touch with the nurses at Island Sexual Health program. They run a clinic at the Peninsula Health Unit on Thursday evenings. They are able to offer other forms of birth control. Island Sexual Health can also test for Sexually Transmitted Infections.

We do free pregnancy tests at the Health Centre. Please wait until your period is late before coming in for a pregnancy test as the tests are not accurate until your period is late. If you get a positive test it is important to make an appointment with your doctor as soon as possible to ensure a healthy pregnancy.

There is a new vaccine on the market for girls in grade 9. It is called Guardasil and it protects girls against HPV (genital warts). It is estimated that about 70% of women will have at least one HPV infection in their lives. Most of the time it is harmless and heals by itself. The HPV virus can lead to cervical cancer and that is why the vaccine was introduced. If you need more information before deciding for or against this vaccine please come in and talk about it with the nurse.

In the near future we hope to be offering pre and post HIV test counselling. The staff at the health centre will be able to direct you to the appropriate resources until the counselling is offered here.

We have a fully stocked first aid cabinet at the health centre which is available to all community members. It is accessible even when the nurse is not in the office. We have other staff in the office who are first aid certified and will be able to offer you assistance in an emergency.

We are able to assess you at the health center and either treat you here if it is something fairly minor or refer you either to the walk in clinic or the hospital, depending on the severity of the injury. If you need something from the first aid cupboard please let someone at the office know, so we are able to track what is being used and restock supplies. We do not carry many medications on site, however we have adult Tylenol and Advil for those who need it on an emergency basis. Both of these medications are covered by Non-insured Health Benefits with a prescription from your doctor. We occasionally hold first aid courses through the health centre. If this is something you are interested in doing. Let the health centre know and we will be able to connect you with the next scheduled first aid course.

CONTACT

COMMUNITY HEALTH NURSE
(250) 652-1149
health@tsawout.ca