1_-_for_web.jpgNursing may seem simple to some – monitor a patient’s vital signs, check another’s symptoms and glide through the duties of the day. But, in fact, nursing is hard, skillful work that requires a deep sense of dedication.

 
For Cheri Holden, who has served as nurse manager of the Pickens County Health Department since last fall, the wealth of education, experience and energy she possesses is only surpassed by her dedicated desire to serve others.
 
Originally from Dalton, Holden had earned both a Registered Nursing degree and a Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree from Southern Adventist University in Collegedale, Tennessee by 1984.
 
She then managed the infant unit at Northside Hospital in Atlanta; and, in 1986, she began her public health career at the Cobb County Health Department in Marietta.
 
“I was married by that time and ready to start a family,” said Holden, “So, it was my mother who had urged me to look for a job in public health. She felt I’d be able to focus more time on motherhood.”
 
Then, her children came – first a son, and a daughter, and later, a stepson and stepdaughter – and Holden raised them while progressing professionally, starting with the launch of the Breast and Cervical Cancer Prevention (BCCP) program in Cobb County to becoming supervisor of the health department’s Acworth Health Center and the Breast Test and More coordinator.
 
“I loved my work in Cobb County,” she said, “But it grew too large and impersonal – too metropolitan – I wanted to get back to a smaller population with more of a hometown feel.”
 
When the opportunity arose to make her move to public health in Pickens County last October, she seized it. Here, she has been able to spend time interacting with clients and providing hands-on health care on a much more personal level.
 
2_-_for_web.jpg“I’m also able to be more involved in the community,” said Holden, “I’ve quickly learned a lot about this community and its needs through the Pickens County Chamber of Commerce and Pickens County Family Connection. Plus, I’m working with district public health on the board for a new Rural Health Grant and I’ve collaborated with WIC and Piedmont Mountainside Hospital to provide healthy cooking and eating initiatives for local clients who have high blood pressure. Through this program, we will provide cooking classes and take clients through the grocery store to teach them how to shop for healthy choices.”
 
Holden and her staff are working with the local school system, as well.
 
“We’re always doing something with the schools,” said Holden. “We provide scoliosis screening and school-based flu shot clinics. We had a great back-to-school immunization clinic. We also offered public health education to teens at Mountainside Education Center High School and about sixty kids were in the class.”
 
Public health services that Holden oversees at the Pickens County Health Department include immunizations for children and adults, children health services, health services for women and STD testing and counseling.
 
Programs offered at the health department and in Pickens County through the North Georgia Health District include Babies Can’t Wait, Children First, Children’s Medical Services, Women, Infants and Children (WIC), Environmental Health, Emergency Preparedness and the Living Bridge Center, which provides Ryan White Part B and C services for those living with HIV.
 
Despite the time and energy Holden has invested in public health service and the successful parenting of her four children – one of whom now has a business degree, another is in pharmacy school, while yet another is studying X-ray technology and the youngest is in high school – she still has the heart to compassionately volunteer her services each summer to 3_-_for_web.jpgGuatemalan mission trips through Due West United Methodist Church in Marietta.
 
Yet, her focus remains on her goals for public health in Pickens County.
 
“I want us to be even more involved in bettering the overall well-being and health care for Pickens County,” Holden said. “I have an awesome staff who have helped me with my transition here and who have a heart for this area, for the community and for the people of Pickens County.”
 
For more information about the Pickens County Health Department, including public health services and hours of operation, log onto www.nghd.org/pickenshealth or call (706) 253-2821.

travel-safe

scores
Career Center
North Georgia WIC   DPH CDC