Protecting the Future
By Don Winter
Being a parent is the most joyous and memorable experience that life has to offer. However, it can also be incredibly frightening. It doesn’t matter if you’re a first timer or well experienced, there will be times, events, and episodes that will cause you to ask questions of yourself that you probably won’t have an answer for. Fortunately for parents there are many fine programs to guide us through these difficult times. One of those programs available to McLean County residents is the Well Child Clinic program offered by the First District Health Unit. The First District Health Unit, based in Minot, has two offices in McLean County. One is located in Washburn, the other in Garrison. A main component of the service the organization offers to the county is the Well Child Clinic. These clinics, according to FDHU’s brochure on the program, are staffed by public health nurses and area volunteers. They are held six times a year in most areas of the county. The purpose of the program is to provide a health screening program to children from birth to six years of age. A platform to give them a leg up on life so to speak, and to encourage that healthy development levels are achieved throughout a child’s formative years. "We’re not competeing with clinics, this is strictly for the parents benefit. We’re not taking the place of a primary care physician. We even pass on information to the clinic," says Sandy Birst First District Health nurse based out of Washburn. "This is one of my favorite programs, I love working with children. This is so important if we can catch something early, early intervention is the key to good development." The screening that Birst refers to is the basic services offered by the Well Child program, which features: health history; measurements such as height, weight, and head size; vision, hearing, and speech screening; Denver Developmental Screening Test; hemoglobin and urine screening; physical appraisal by nurse and Select immunizations.