Welcome to the Team!

Please join us and welcome Dawn Wing as the new clinic receptionist. Many of you may already know Dawn from her recent tenure at Ketchikan Eye Care Center where she worked for the past five years.  Her caring attitude and genuine charm are real blessings to the clinic as well as her obvious knack for juggling the variety of front desk tasks.  In her spare time, you may find her enjoying the local outdoors. She is also an accomplished seamstress and enjoys all things cloth. Welcome Dawn!

Apprentice Program

Three local Candidates complete medical assistant apprentice program at creekside clinic
Three local candidates have completed a Medical Assistant Training program sponsored by Creekside Family Health Clinic, in partnership with The State of Alaska Employment Security Division, and the U.S. Department of Labor Office of Apprenticeship. Jane Bolima, NCMA; Kim Rodriguez, NCMA; and Shalie Hageman, NCMA have each completed the academic, clinical training, and examination requirements to receive certification as Nationally Certified Medical Assistants (NCMA) through the National Commission for Certifying Agencies.

The federally registered apprenticeship program included 4000 clinical practice hours and a year-long distance education program through Penn Foster University. “We are very proud of all they have accomplished” says, Lani Hill, Family Nurse Practitioner and clinic owner. “I think it has been a real challenge for them to complete the program and balance it with all their other commitments. Of course the best part is that they’ll hopefully stay with us as highly valued employees.”

Although the scope of practice for Medical Assistants varies state-by-state, they provide an important role supporting a variety of clinical and administrative tasks delegated and supervised by licensed medical professionals such as nurses and doctors. For example, they are qualified to take vital signs and check-in patients, assist with procedures, draw and process laboratory blood specimens, coordinate referrals, administer limited medications, and maintain medical records among other supervised tasks. “They have really become an important part of the clinic team” says John Hill, Clinic Manager. “It’s been very satisfying watching them grow as people and as professionals. In Ketchikan, recruiting and attracting folks with these qualifications can be pretty challenging. So we do what Ketchikan does best: grow our own”.

The apprenticeships were co-sponsored and financed by the State of Alaska Department of Labor and Workforce Development. The U.S. Department of Labor (USDOL), Office of Apprenticeship is the registration agency and the program is registered as part of the National Apprenticeship System. “Registered Apprenticeship helps the employer meet their demand for skilled workers”, says Lymus Capehart, USDOL Apprenticeship and Training Representative. “Registered Apprenticeship helps build careers where everyone wins.”

The State of Alaska Department of Labor and Workforce Development, through the local Ketchikan Job Center, played a key role to secure the funding and provide guidance to the apprentices. “Melissa Cruise, our Vocational Counselor, lead the way in creating this much-needed apprenticeship opportunity. The Career Support & Training Services (CSTS) program paid the tuition and testing fees that prepared the students to gain national certification,” said Barbara Truitt, CSTS case manager with the Ketchikan Job Center. “Our mission is to strengthen Alaska’s workforce and encourage economic development by providing quality career support and training services. This newly formed apprenticeship could potentially become a model for various health care providers to implement across the state.

For all of the apprentices, the program presented an opportunity to build upon previous experiences in health services. “There simply wasn’t a training opportunity available to me elsewhere in the community and I’m grateful for it.” says Jane Bolima. Kim Rodriguez, for her part notes “What’s been great about the program is that it has allowed me to take a big step forward in my career while at the same time earning a living”. Shalie Hageman, the third apprentice, agrees. “It’s been a great experience. Especially since it allowed me to keep doing what I love to do”.

Flu Shots Now Available

Flu VaccinesCreekside Family Health Clinic will be providing flu shots on a walk-in basis, Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m..  Most insurance plans cover the cost of the shot which is also available at $30 for those without insurance.  Flu refers to illnesses caused by a number of different influenza viruses.  The flu can cause a range of symptoms and effects, from mild to serious.  Vaccination is the best protection against contracting the flu and spreading it to others.  Individuals are encouraged to get vaccinated  as early in the season as possible.

For more information about the upcoming flu season and vaccination information, the Center Disease Control website is a great resource: http://www.cdc.gov/flu/about/season/flu-season-2012-2013.htm.  Some of the site’s information is summarized below.

What should I do to prepare for flu season?

CDC recommends that everyone 6 months and older get a flu vaccine each year. Getting a flu vaccine is the first and most important step in protecting against this serious disease.  It’s especially important for some people to get vaccinated. Those people include the following:

  • People who are at high risk of developing serious complications like pneumonia if they get sick with the flu
    • This includes people who have certain medical conditions including asthma, diabetes, and chronic lung disease.  Pregnant women. People 65 years and older.
    • People who live with or care for others who are high risk of developing serious complications.  This includes household contacts and caregivers of people with certain medical conditions including asthma, diabetes, and chronic lung disease.

When should I get vaccinated?

CDC recommends that people get vaccinated against influenza as soon as 2012-2013 flu season vaccine becomes available in their community. Influenza seasons are unpredictable, and can begin as early as October.  It takes about two weeks after vaccination for antibodies to develop in the body and provide protection against the flu.

Why do I need a flu vaccine every year?

A flu vaccine is needed every year because flu viruses are constantly changing. It’s not unusual for new flu viruses to appear each year. The flu vaccine is formulated each year to keep up with the flu viruses as they change.  Also, multiple studies conducted over different seasons and across vaccine types and influenza virus subtypes have shown that the body’s immunity to influenza viruses (acquired either through natural infection or vaccination) declines over time.

Is there treatment if I get sick with the flu?

Yes. If you get sick, there are drugs that can treat flu illness. They are called antiviral drugs and they can make your illness milder and help you feel better faster. They also can prevent serious flu-related complications, like pneumonia.

What sort of flu season is expected this year?

Flu seasons are unpredictable in a number of ways. Although epidemics of flu happen every year, the timing, severity, and length of the epidemic depends on many factors, including what influenza viruses are spreading, whether they match the viruses in the vaccine, and how many people get the vaccine.

When will flu activity begin and when will it peak?

The timing of flu is very unpredictable and can vary from season to season. Flu activity most commonly peaks in the U.S. in January or February. However, seasonal flu activity can begin as early as October and continue to occur as late as May. The 2011-2012 season began late and was relatively mild compared with previous seasons. It is not possible to predict how mild or severe the 2012-2013 season will be.  Flu viruses are constantly changing so it’s not unusual for new flu viruses to appear each year.

What flu viruses does the vaccine protect against?

Flu vaccines are designed to protect against three influenza viruses that experts predict will be the most common during the upcoming season. Three kinds of influenza viruses commonly circulate among people today: influenza B viruses, influenza A (H1N1) viruses, and influenza A (H3N2) viruses. Each year, one flu virus of each kind is used to produce seasonal influenza vaccine.

The 2012-2013 influenza vaccine is made from the following three viruses:

  • an A/California/7/2009 (H1N1) pdm09-like virus;
  • an A/Victoria/361/2011 (H3N2)-like virus;
  • a B/Wisconsin/1/2010-like virus (from the B/Yamagata lineage of viruses).

While the H1N1 virus is the same as the 2011-2012 recommendation, the recommended influenza H3N2 and B vaccine viruses are different from those recommended for the Northern Hemisphere for the 2011-2012 influenza vaccine.

How long does a flu vaccine protect me from getting the flu?

Multiple studies conducted over different seasons and across vaccine types and influenza virus subtypes have shown that the body’s immunity to influenza viruses (acquired either through natural infection or vaccination) declines over time. The decline in antibodies is influenced by several factors, including the antigen used in the vaccine, and the person’s general health (for example, certain chronic health conditions may have an impact on immunity). When most healthy people with regular immune systems are vaccinated, their bodies produce antibodies and they are protected throughout the flu season, even as antibody levels decline over time. People with weakened immune systems may not generate the same amount of antibodies after vaccination; further, their antibody levels may drop more quickly when compared to healthy people.

I have heard of people who don’t get vaccinated against influenza in September or October because they want it to “last” through the entire influenza season. Should people wait until later in the influenza season to be vaccinated?

CDC recommends that influenza vaccination begin as soon as vaccine becomes available in the community and continue throughout the flu season. It takes about two weeks after vaccination for antibodies to develop in the body and provide protection against influenza, and influenza seasons can begin as early as October. Therefore, CDC recommends that vaccination begin as soon as vaccine becomes available to ensure that as many people as possible are protected before flu season begins.