Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

October 28, 2012

More than 300 get Women’s Health Screening

By BILL ARCHER
Bluefield Daily Telegraph

PRINCETON — Rick Puckett, vice president of quality and safety at Princeton Community Hospital, appeared to have his hands full, directing the flow of ladies coming into the hospital’s annual Women’s Health Screening at the hospital Saturday morning.

“We have more than 300 women signed up this year,” Puckett said as he smiled and provided directions to the first stop during the process. In 2011, PCH served a little more than 200 ladies during the health screening that checks for breast and cervical cancer through the West Virginia Breast and Cervical Cancer Screening Program.

“The WVBCCSP is a comprehensive public health program that helps uninsured or underinsured women gain access to breast and cervical cancer screening services,” according to the organization’s web site. “Screening and early detection reduces death rates, improves treatment options, and greatly increases survival.”

PCH has been conducting the women’s health screenings for about seven years, although Puckett couldn’t remember the exact number of years on Saturday morning when ladies were streaming in the door. He did know that there were 16 LPN students helping with the screening along with seven providers, even more nurses and even more staff personnel — all of whom were committing an entire day from before 8 a.m. until 3:30-5 p.m. to volunteer for the program.

“This is a community effort,” Dr. Lori Tucker, OB-GYN, a seven-year veteran of volunteering with the program said. She asked one of the LPN students what number they were on. The young lady responded, “88,” and Tucker was ready to get back to work.

“West Virginia has one of the best programs for screening for breast and cervical cancers,” Tucker said. “PCH started participating in this early. The reason we can do this is because of the community,” she said. “All of the volunteers.”

“We’re meeting some very nice people and we’re finding things that need to be addressed,” Dr. Jamette Huffman said. She added that the WVBCCSP screenings serve both uninsured and underinsured patients.

Kayla Sizemore, RN, was one of several nurses working the event even though it was a challenging day for her. Sizemore has been volunteering to work the screenings for the past four years, and two years ago, she encouraged her mother to go through the screening. Sadly, her mother’s cancer was discovered too late. She passed away last year.

“October is a little emotional for me,” Sizemore said as she looked briefly down the hallway. “It was one year and one week ago today that she passed away,” she said.

“This is a good screening program for the patients,” Tabitha Cox, RN, said, helping her friend and colleague. “You want to try to treat people with the same care and professionalism as you treat everyone else. They don’t think of it as a clinic. They see it as a screening. We need to get the community support to do this.”

Each of the volunteers were wearing pink t-shirts announcing that they were part of “Team PCH,” at the “Women’s Health Screening.” The hospital was busy, but it didn’t seem as though anyone had to wait too long.

— Contact Bill Archer at barcher@bdtonline.com