Nurses are one of the many health professionals on the front line during the COVID-19 pandemic. For Otter Tail County Public Health nurse and coordinator for the county’s disease control and prevention program, Jessica Metzger, the recent pandemic has pushed a larger need for people in her position. While the 43-year-old has seen her workload change since March, she enjoys working for the county. I sat down with Metzger to ask her about what her job entails, what is her daily routine and what are things that she enjoys about working in her line of employment.
Q: How long have you been in the job?
A: I have been with Otter Tail County since June 2005.
: What are your job duties?
: I am in charge of Otter Tail County Public Health vaccination program. I do case management for tuberculosis (TB) clients and also for Hepatitis B. Minnesota Vaccines for Children (MnVFC) program, most of our clinics in Otter Tail County are also providers for that program. I go around every two years for site visits, just to make sure that the vaccination program is being handled and administered correctly. I also do rabies follow-ups for animal bites.
Q: What is your daily routine?
A: Before COVID-19, my typical day would entail home visits for case visits for TB clients, do vaccinations within the office, answer phone calls and follow-ups on rabies bites. Currently, I am doing case investigations and contact tracing for COVID-19.
Q: What is the most difficult part of your job?
A: I guess, because I am very passionate about prevention, specifically disease prevention, individuals that are practicing nonvaccination. It is a hard place to be. You want to make sure you empower people to do the right thing, but you want them to make their own decision. So, part of my job is to get the right information in the hands of people and build a rapport with them.
Q: What is the most enjoyable part of your job?
A: I really love everything about my job. I can’t say enough about the team that works here at Otter Tail County Public Health. My co-workers are incredible people and working with them is great.
Q: What are your hobbies outside of work?
A:I am known as the goat lady at the office. We have a little bit of a hobby farm with horses, goats and other animals. I have three kids, ages 14, 11 and 10. We are really active in 4-H, raising and showing our goats, and I love to be outdoors.