Community/ Public Health Nursing in Ontario

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    I would like to inquire about aspiring to be a public/community health nurse in Ontario. Is this a specialty that a new grad can get into right out of school or does it require experience somewhere else? Are there certain things that one should do in terms of schooling, volunteer work, or credentials that would maximize one's chances of getting an offer for a position as a public/community health nurse?

    Thank you for your attention to my queries.

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  2. 16 Comments...

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    Just apply. It's a hit or miss. It all depends on whether you meet their needs. There are some who require a certain amount of experience but there are also some positions that don't care.
  4. 1
    Some positions require experience and a Masters, some don't.
    Fiona59 likes this.
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    A friend of mine just graduated from the BScN program in May, wrote her CRNE in July and just got hired as a public health nurse. I'm not sure what experience she had or whether she did her clinical there...but she is a new grad and got in.
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    Wow, thank you very much for your responses. Is public health nursing a popular field in Ontario?
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    Just to be clear... what kind of community/public health nursing are you interested? Do you want to work in a clinic, government or do you want to be a visiting nurse etc.? Toronto Public Health and other GTA public health are difficult to get into unless you did your placement there or/and you have some experience in community program implementation/research/policy and/or years of experience in the clinical settiing. Most of the positions require you have a valid G licence in ON. Community visiting nurses, at least those that are advertised don't really require you to have experience in the hospital. I have a few friends that have gone that route as new grads. If you want to work in a clinic (e.g., IVF, endoscopy, oral surgery), you usually have to have some hospital experience plus ACLS.
  8. 1
    Hi again,
    Well, I seem to be happiest when I am playing the role of a consultant to patients -- that is, educating and advising them on their health and teaching them how to make positive lifestyle choices. I also like the art of designing, administering, managing, and evaluating a plan of management (i.e treatment plan). I could see myself working in an STD clinic, community health centre, or doing in-home consults. I do not see myself doing well in a hospital environment and so I hope to avoid it beyond what is absolutely necessary.
    KellyTel likes this.
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    As Jane has stated there are different areas within community/public health. As a visiting nurse (considered community) you have a good chance to obtain employment as a new graduate. Positions within public health, community health centres, case management etc typically require at the very minimum 1 year experience as an RN (Hospital/LTC etc). I have worked within the community while a nursing student in the office setting, developed great relationships with the nurse managers and HR but was still told that I would need 1 year of RN experience as strong assessment and facilitation skills are required. A friend of mine aspires to be a Public health nurse and had her consolidation at Toronto Public Health and was told the same thing, she would need 1 year RN experience. It's extremely tough to crack as a new grad. Not saying it's impossible.

    Just saw your recent reply: Looks like your describing the side that I thought and they usually require experience (1 year min. as stated). Many public health and community health centres need volunteers so I would definitely volunteer if you are able to. As far as credentials go - you could look at employment listings to see the qualifications of positions you're interested in. Positions usually require a BScN and experience. For management a masters. For a specific area it is usually stated a certificate in the area is preferred (Certified geriatric nurse, certified diabetes educator etc..) and experience with the specific population.

    Good luck!
    Last edit by RiRi03 on Aug 15, '12 : Reason: added
    Fiona59 likes this.
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    Thank you RiRi03! That really helps a lot. It seems like I am in for a bit of ladder climbing. Are public health positions very competitive?
  11. 0
    Out West, Public Health is very competitive. The only easy area is the School Health Programme and that's leaning more towards LPNs. Can't really face immunization day at multiple schools or I'd be all over it.

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