The Valdez Star - Serving Prince William Sound and Copper River Basin

By Lee Revis
Editor, Valdez Star 

RN to give Valdez a shot at local office

Public health nurse Sara Pullen to staff state office full time


A fresh face is taking over at the Public Health Office in Valdez.

RN Sarah Pullen was hard at work Monday, getting oriented on her first day on the job.

Pullen, who was one of four traveling nurses who rotated in and out of Valdez during the months the office was not fully staffed, replaces the now retired Pam Shirrell.

Pullen said she will have big shoes to fill in Shirrell's absence.

"I am still impressed with all the hard work she did," Pullen said Monday.

The Public Health Office in Valdez has played a major role in fulfilling community health needs in Valdez. In addition to the traditional role public health offices fill – dispensing school vaccines, holding birth control clinics and the like - Valdez often took on large community wide issues and was – and continues to be – a pioneer in Alaska's emergency preparedness for a true public health crisis.

Valdez held some of the first community-wide flu shot drills in the state, a tradition that has continued since its inception in 2005.

Pullen there are no immediate plans for large-scale events this summer, but Valdez should be on the lookout for such events in the future.

Valdez Star photo

RN Sarah Pullen hard at work Monday on her first day as the new public health nurse in Valdez.

According to a press release from the statewide office, Pullen began her nursing career in 1976 as a clinic nurse in pediatrics and neonatal intensive care at Methodist Hospital in Memphis, Tenn. She later worked for the Indian Health Service in both Bethel (1984) and Anchorage (1989).

She later joined the Veteran's Administration Outpatient Ambulatory Service as a nurse case manager in 1997 and was with them until 2011 when she became a public health nurse for the Municipality of Anchorage. During this time, she completed her master's degree in nursing from the University of Phoenix.

Pullen became a state public health nurse in Wasilla in September, 2013. She was one of four public health nurses providing coverage for Valdez between August 2013 and April 2014.

"Sara fell in love with Valdez during that time and is now making it her home," the press release said.


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