As a nurse, you know that medical tests and vaccinations can save lives, fight diseases, and pin point health conditions early on, when they’re more easily treated.
It makes sense that April's National Minority Health Month carries the theme of “Prevention is Power: Taking Action for Health Equity.”
At home, you may be the point person in your family that keeps track of who needs what test and then books the associated doctor appointments.
But when it comes to your own tests, vaccines, and checkups, do you need a helpful nudge to take care of business?
Consider what tests you may need. Below, for example, are the essential screenings for a typical 40-year-old female nurse – according to recommendations from the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force.
Body mass index (annual)
Flu shot (annual, and well before the start of flu season!)
Mammogram (starting at age 40, and every two years after)
Pap smear (every 3 to 5 years)
But talk to your doctor about what’s right for you based on age, gender, and health risk factors.
Once you have it figured out, pencil-in reminders on your calendar at the first of the year, or set up an email or smartphone alert to remind you. Plan on calling your doctor’s office a few months in advance, just to be sure you can get in on-schedule. It’s best to stick to the same time of year for these tests, for your own planning purposes and to make sure insurance coverage is in check.
How are you doing with these essential health screenings and vaccinations? Are there any other screenings that you recommend? Let us know about your experiences.
Jebra Turner is a freelance health writer based in Portland, Oregon. You can visit her online at www.jebra.com.