8 Months of Postpartum, now going into PHN (Maternity)

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    Hey Everyone! (I welcome anyone's wise input & encouragement)

    I just wanted some advice on this new position that I accepted with the county health department in my area in Kissimmee, FL. I graduated last year in August (can't believe it will almost be my one year!) and I passed my boards in October. I accepted a position at Winnie Palmer Hospital, which is a hospital solely for Mothers & Babies. I started working in the postpartum/mother-baby area which I like because of all the teaching, but not sure if I really like the hospital setting. Plus, this position was at least an hour away from home, whereas the new position is about 15-20 min away. Due to personal matters at home and the rising prices of gas, I decided to accept a position with the county health dept., which is really under the FL DOH (Dept of Health). I will mostly be working in the Maternity area, but will probably also train to do Primary Care, Family Planning etc in case there's a shortage. I'm not sure what my specific duties are since I haven't started yet, but I am really excited and nervous at the same time to start something new, but I also feel like I'm at the bottom of the todem pole since I'm the newbie learning the way they do things differently from the hospital. Anyhow, I'm willing to take the risks cause I like the schedule, 8am-5pm Mon-Fri with the possibility of one day of extended hrs, paid holidays, good health insurance benefits, help to pay for at least 2 classes each semester for continuing education, since I want to go back for my Masters, and vested after 6 years for the retirement plan. Any advice from some experienced nurses as to what to expect working for the DOH within the maternity area or in public health nursing? Will my eight months experience in mother-baby help me, even though sometimes I still feel like I'm brand spankin new from nursing school? :uhoh21:

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  2. 4 Comments...

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    Hi there and Congratulations on the new job! I work for FL DOH as well. Will you be seeing actual patients in a clinic setting? My job is more like social work. I work in the Healthy Start program, doing home visits to at risk pregnant moms and infants. There isn't actual patient care involved though. We do weigh and measure babies but that's it as far as assessments go. We basically provide education and get clients hooked up with resources in town. We also field quite a few DCF referrals. Prior to this position, I was working in school health through DOH. I miss that job terribly, however, it was so hard for me to find work in the summer due to only having worked in the hospital less than 6 months as a NICU nurse. I require steady income throughout the year. I enjoy community health but I do feel that I've made myself a little less marketable as a nurse because I have so little hospital experience. I'm trying to work towards some certifications and maybe back to school for MPH. You will find community health to be very different from the hospital. It is much more laid back. Sometimes, the clients can be a handful but that is with any job. For me, the benefits are good but the pay is abysmal. We don't get raises either as we're under FNA contract, unless legislature votes a COLA. I find that very frustrating. You can't beat the schedule though and I get vacation whenever I want it! I think you will be well equipped at your job and I wish you the best of luck. Feel free to let me know if you have any questions.
    KetuUCF likes this.
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    Yes, I will be in the clinic setting. The Healthy Start program sounds interesting. Maybe something I'd want to look into if I get bored at the clinic. I've always wanted to do School Health and be the nurse at the school since I enjoyed substitute teaching K-5, and thought it would be neat to be around young kids again, but not in a hospital setting. Man, there are just so many choices to tap into. Can you tell me a little bit more what your job responsibilities included in school health? Yeah I've heard about not getting any pay raises. Right now I'm happy with the salary that they offfered, it's a little more than what I made at the hospital, but the other nurses warned me that I won't get a pay raise for a long time. I'm not so happy about that, but if I'm happy with my new position than I think it'll be worth it cause the hospital just stressed me out so much. I know every job has stress, but I just wanted to try something new since I worked in the hospital for 3 years as a tech and now almost a year as an RN. Anyhow, thanks for your advice, I greatly appreciate it, SunshineBaby. Anymore suggestions from others I would greatly appreciate as well.
    lamazeteacher likes this.
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    Sure, no problem. School health is really great! In my county, we have a nurse and tech in every school. The tech's main job is to see the children in the clinic and defer to the RN if it is something they are unable to handle. The RN is responsible for all the screenings, that includes vision, hearing, height, weight, and BMI. You have to do all the referrals and follow up on them. Another major portion is education. You teach puberty class, anti-tobacco, dental care, handwashing, etc. You also certify immunization records, create care plans, & train school staff in medical procedures. I loved it! The kids adore you and the hours are perfect, plus you get every holiday off, two weeks at Christmas, and of course, summers off. However, we get no pay in the summer. Now, if you're skilled in the hospital setting, you can just work there PRN during the summer or work with an agency. Do the nurses in your clinic get special training? We have some in ours that can do more advanced things, such as paps. I think you'll like the flexibility of community health. You can move around your health dept when/if you get bored with one area and you still keep your seniority.
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    SunshineBaby, you wouldn't happen to be in Brevard County would you? I spoke from someone there the other day about the school clinic nurse positions available (as I am interested in public/community health - Just graduated in May, got a job on a med surg floor in july and have been there ever since... hate it!) I''m trying to figure out how to get into the public health system when there really are no open positions... or, what should I do to head that way? I've decided I'd rather be able to spend the time with the pt to educate them rather than shove some meds there way and move on to the next person... I want to help prevent them from becoming sick - I don't like the acute setting at all! Any advice is appreciated!


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