Living My Best Life: 2019 Home Visiting Symposium

Nurse home visitors, nursing students and care coordinators from maternal and child health programs across the region gathered for “Living My Best Life,” the 2019 Northeast Florida Home Visiting Symposium on exploring self-care as a home visitor. The symposium was organized by the Home Visiting Advisory Committee and took place on Friday, September 27 at UF Health Jacksonville.

The goal of the symposium was to give the home visitors in our programs and across Northeast Florida a much-deserved insight of caring for themselves before taking care of others. The concept is much like how flight attendants announce in the safety demonstration, “putting on your own oxygen mask before assisting others.”

Self-care is vital when helping others is the focus of your career. Home visitation/care coordination is a demanding job that takes a lot of physical and emotional toll on people who work in this field. Both the men and women in this group of home visitors work daily with families to improve birth and health outcomes. In dealing with so many families in distress, home visitors could easily experience compassion fatigue and burn out.

Ms. Sandra Johnson, family emotional wellness coach at THE MADISEL Group, spoke to the class about self-care after handing out the Self-Care Quiz and giving participants pipe cleaners to make themselves a valuable gift. Many home visitors made hearts, animals and some even made jewelry. Her impressions on the group were that self-care is “not a mental health day” but a “day to recover” before you get burnt out and that the only thing in this world you need to be a master of is yourself.


Other guest speakers including Jack Johnson, director of our Fatherhood P.R.I.D.E. program who provided insight on how to engage dads when home visitors meet with their clients. John Vredenburg, UF Health Jacksonville dietitian discussed how maintaining a well-balanced diet is a major component in self-care and gave participants a handout for “Healthy Eating No Cook Breakfast Ideas.” Jennifer Davis, behavioral coach at AbleTo, spoke on wellness at work and home to remain active and healthy through stress-relieving techniques and fun exercises.

At the symposium, the Coalition also recognized two home visitors for going above and beyond in serving their clients:

Ana Martinez, UF Health Jacksonville Healthy Start – First Place 2019 Home Visiting/Care Coordinator Professional of the Year

Belinda Jones, Florida Department of Health Duval Healthy Start – Runner Up 2019 Home Visiting/Care Coordinator Professional of the Year

Go here for photos of the event.