Want to specialize in HIV nursing

  1. Greetings all! I am a fairly new RN BSN working in MedSurg but my dream is to work in a clinic setting with an HIV positive population. Are there any HIV certified nurses on the forums? Or nurses that work in this specialty that would like to share how they got there? My HIV positive patients are currently few and far between and I'm not sure how to start off getting experience with this demographic. Thank you SO much for your responses!!!
  2. Visit geebs profile page

    About geebs, BSN

    Joined: Nov '13; Posts: 25; Likes: 23
    from US
    Specialty: Med/Surg, orthopedics


  3. by   oceanblue52
    I'd like to hear about this too. I've seen some job postings in health departments that emphasize working in STI clinics. I've also considered volunteering for a needle exchange program. What other options are there?
  4. by   beckysue920
    If your community has an AIDS resource organization, perhaps you could start there. The city I worked in had a center that solely cared for people with HIV, a food pantry, nursing clinic, pharmacy, counseling, social work services, legal aid help, needle exchange, etc. It was not a hospital. With the meds that are available for HIV folks now, hospitalization isn't as necessary as it once was.

    I started working with HIV by anonymously testing at risk individuals in the community. The funding came from a CDC grant, which was allotted to our state. (I answered an ad that was in the paper, as odd as that may seem.) I worked at a small not-for-profit STD clinic.

    Our community has a med school and they have a clinic especially for Infectious Diseases with HIV being a primary focus.

    Many AIDS organizations do need volunteers but as far as paid positions, (in my area), are few and far between. Maybe volunteering would allow you to at least get your foot in the door.

    It is a rewarding specialty and I do hope you find something. I feel like I was blessed to have the position and opportunity I did.

  5. by   DesertRN2
  6. by   mybobbi
    Hi there,

    I have been an HIV nurse for 22 years. Getting HIV experience is a great way to learn about the disease and what thing are important to the population. Also understanding the needs of people living with HIV is essential to HIV nursing. Even if you have to volunteer some of your time at a HIV agency or clinic, the experience will be very valuable. The other option is shadowing an HIV nurse in your institution. I have had people shadow e and again the experience is very valuable. The comment I get most often from those who shadow is "I had HIV all wrong - anyone is at risk". Interesting yes?

    Good luck

    Mark Cichocki RN
    University of Michigan
  7. by   niqu92
    I Have been working as an RN on a med-surg unit for 2 years (graduated in 2014) and also have a strong passion for HIV care. When I first graduated I applied to a bunch of HIV-care jobs but got rejected from all of them. Now that I have 2 years under my belt I recently got hired for a PRN position on an Immunology/HIV-AIDS unit and am super ecstatic. I am also studying for my ACRN certification which I'll be taking next week. i will be returning to school next fall to specialize as an HIV/infectious disease NP.
    Get at least one year under your belt and then see if you can venture out. One of the physicians at my hospital told me that there is a dire need for nurses and providers in HIV care however it is not a "popular"field so A lot of places need people like you! Consider studying for the ACRN certification because it will definitely be a plus once you start looking into HIV-care related jobs!