By: Wayne Allen Wallen@ communitycommon.com
December 31, 2010
Connie Pratt has retired after 30 years of service as the Scioto County Tuberculosis (TB) Clinic Nurse. Over the years Pratt has seen a number of changes in the way TB is handled and treated.
Pratt started her career in the Scioto County Health Department in June of 1980.
"When I first started the TB Clinic was housed in the city (Portsmouth) health department. When I was hired the commissioners decided they wanted to move it (TB Clinic) over to the county," Pratt said. "The day I started, all of my files and all office supplies were sitting in hallway. Once I got everything moved in and organized I was initiated to the job the first week I was there, we had an active case."
Pratt said the TB Clinic stayed in the county health department until 2004 when it moved into its current location on 7th Street in Portsmouth.
"The course of treatment has changed over the years for TB cases. When I first started our cases were treated from one to two years. Now we are down to a six month course of treatment, as long as they are not drug resistant," Pratt said.
Pratt said her position has been very challenging over the years. "You never know from day to day what you might encounter. We could get an active case at any time, that's when we are very busy," Pratt said.
"We've been very fortunate to have the residents of Scioto County to vote for the TB levy. They have been very dedicated in doing that, without their vote of support we would have no TB Clinic," Pratt said.
Pratt said the TB clinic does a lot of TB testing for health care workers, nursing home employees and people going into education among others.
She said in 2010 there were three active cases. "Some years we have not had any active cases, while some years we may have one," Pratt said.
"People think that TB is no longer around, it is still out there. TB is contagious, so if someone has TB then all they have to do is tough and put the germ in the air and someone breaths it in," Pratt said.
She said if someone has active TB some of the symptoms include, lose of weight, night sweats, a number of people think they have the flu and it just keeps progressing.
Some of the things Pratt said she will miss about the job include working with the county commissioners, her board of directors, medical director and many others.
"It's going to be different (after retirement) you are so used to getting up every morning and coming to work. My husband and I have thought about this for a while, and he is retiring as the Director of Security at Shawnee State University," Pratt said.
In their retirement the couple hopes to do a lot of traveling and spend more time with their children and grand children.
She said if given the opportunity she would do it all over again. "It's not that I hate my job, I love my job. It has been a fabulous job, I've really enjoyed it and i've met so many interesting people. Over the years we've also had a number of interesting cases," Pratt said.
Pratt hopes the citizens will continue to support the TB Clinic levy when it comes up for renewal.
Kathy Widdig has been hired to take Pratt's place. Widdig has been a nurse with the Scioto County Health Department for the past 11 years.
For more information about the TB Clinic and the services they offer call 355-1250.