Could Public Health be my niche? - page 2

Hello. I've been working acute care for the past 6 years, and am seriously considering leaving nursing altogether. I'm burned out on the fast pace and stress of working the floors. I'm tired of shift... Read More

  1. by   Genista
    Thanks for the advice Quickbeam! I understand that I will have to be patient. I recently applied for two PHN jobs (county), but am not sure if I have a chance or not. I am considering trying home health nursing if I don't hear from the county within a month or so. I think home health would be challenging and interesting, and would add to my acute care experience. I am thinking of doing home health part time, so that perhaps I could pick up some relief work in public health if offers come up (I've seen a few offers in neighboring counties.) It's slim pickings for PHN jobs around here...but I am determined. I hope it takes me less than 10 years, though! LOL! Thanks for the help.
  2. by   ARNPsomeday
    RNKittyKat,

    There must be SOMEBODY who will translate. There ALWAYS is: a clerk, another patient who is waiting to be seen, a police officer, the cleaning lady, etc. Please don't just assume no one can. Most of us who do might not fit the ethic image associated with the language. I am fair, have hazel eyes and brown hair, yet my first language is Spanish and speak fluent Portuguese and quite a bit of French. A few words of Kreyol here and there.

    I have vowed to learn Haitian Creole before graduating. Can't afford not to here in South Florida! For the good of my patients.

    Quote from RNKittyKat
    I did a one-day quickie rotation at the local health department just last week. Florida is a border state and I think the biggest and most distressing drawback is the language barrier. We have a large criole population, spanish speaking, guatamalan populations. We get lots of migrant farm workers. I watched a newborn with thrush come in and the doctor tried to give instructions to the mom but the mom spoke not a word of English. The doctor did her best to use her disjointed spanish but I don't think the mother knew what to do when she left.

    Still, the people who are working there in the health department that I spoke to, without exception, LOVE their work. It would mean a very substantial paycut versus the hospital setting but the retirement would be good.
  3. by   ccadlett
    Quote from kona2
    Hello. I've been working acute care for the past 6 years, and am seriously considering leaving nursing altogether. I'm burned out on the fast pace and stress of working the floors. I'm tired of shift work and working holidays.I feel I have no time or resources to educate my patients. I'm tired of missed breaks & overtime, being the secretary & custodian...despite the excellent pay.

    I am considering two career options- going into education (not nursing but public schools) or possibly Public Health nursing. I am looking for a position where I can utilize my love of education, whether in nursing or not. I do have my BSN/PHN cert., but no actual public health experience. I am also going to complete my K-12 teaching certificate this year, so I might try my hand at teaching school children. But I keep wondering if Public Health is the one niche I overlooked?

    I would need orientation & training. There are PHN positions available in a neighboring county, but I am thinking of asking to do a job shadow first. Is this a good idea? This is my last ditch attempt at even considering staying in nursing. I love the idea of promoting health, but I feel so disillusioned with my own experience as an RN. Are there any books or websites that public health RNs can recommend? How does Public Health compare to acute care nursing? I am not afraid of hard work, I just want to feel like I am not killing myself in the process. I want to feel like my work is meaningful as well. Thanks for any comments you may have.
    HI!! I JUST JOINED THE FORUM AND HAPPENED TO SEE YOU COMMENTS ABOUT PUBLIC HEALTH NURSING. I RELOCATED TO ARKANSAS ABOUT 1 YEAR AGO, FROM LOS ANGELES. WHAT A DIFFERENCE. IN L.A. I WORKED IN A LARGE COUNTY HOSPITAL FOR 8 YEARS (I DID MED/SURG; PSYCH; OUTPATIENT ONCOLOGY). THEN I WENT TO WORK AT A LARGE PRIVATE HOSPITAL (WITH THE RICH AND FAMOUS). TALK ABOUT TWO DIFFERENT WORLDS. ANYWAY, NOW I'M IN ARKANSAS AND HAVE TRIED SEVERAL AREAS. I WAS WORKING IN THE LOCAL HOSPITAL AND FOUND THAT I WAS REALLY BURNED OUT (FOR THE SAME REASONS THAT YOU WERE) NEED I SAY MORE. SO, I TRIED PHN AT THE LOCAL COUNTY HEALTH CLINIC. THE PAY IS TERRIBLE, BUT I'M THERE M-F 8-4:30 WITH 11 HOLIDAYS YEARLY. HONESTLY, I LIKE THE INTERACTION WITH THAT SOCIO-ECONOMIC GROUP. THEY DON'T COME EQUIPPED WITH LAPTOPS AND ALL THE KNOWLEDGE. SO IF YOU CAN GET ONE POINT ACROSS -- IT'S GREAT. AND OF COURSE THEY GET MAD, CURSE AND ALL THE OTHER STUFF THAT GOES WITH BEING A PATIENT (WHETHER THEY'RE RICH OR POOR). BUT YOUR ENCOUNTER IS 30 MINUTES NOT 12 HOURS AND YOU DON'T SEE THEM THE NEXT DAY AND THE NEXT, ETC. SINCE YOUR POSTING WAS ABOUT A YEAR AGO, I HOPE YOU'VE FOUND SOMETHING SUITABLE. WHATEVER -- GOOD LUCK.
  4. by   LadyBugLass
    I too am considering the county health department. I have 7 years of paramedic experience and 3 years aide experience in addition to 1 year as an RN. Will the paramedic experience help me? I credit nearly ALL of my clinical skills to this!

    I did ICU for 9 months...I quit because the stress was EATING ME ALIVE :uhoh21: !

    It was not the patients; it was the environment. The "alpha-female" attitude in that place was brutal. (I am not much of a butt-kisser, either. Thoracic surgeons don't really appreciate that. :chuckle ) Plus, as much as I hate to see someone suffering from poverty and ignorance, watching someone languish in ICU for months on end on a vent and dialysis is more soul draining than you can imagine. I threw up nearly every day for 9 months just from stress.

    I am doing PRN home health care case management for a small company, and I really like it! Unfortunately, I am only getting about 2-5 patients a week right now...about enough to cover day care. I think I need to go back full-time, but I really don't want to go back to the hospital. Home health care is alot of problem-solving and creative thinking, and the patient time is one on one. It is MUCH more realistic, too. You can do everything in the world in the hospital, but it needs to be tailored to the patients reality (home life, family, everything) or it will fail.

    Do I have a shot at getting a county health job?
  5. by   Genista
    Thanks for the reply and story about your experience CCadlett. Wow- what a variety of positions you have held. Sometimes I would rather work with lower socioeconomic groups than the rich, but both have their plus and minus if you know what I mean.

    Well, since my original post I have done several things. I interviewed for a PHN job last fall and didn't get it. I returned to my previous job on a very part time basis. I pick up extra shifts only when I feel like it. It is really feeling cozy- and I am liking nursing again. However, public health still really interests me...and I just got another invitation to interview for a part time position. I have mixed feelings about it.I'm not sure what to do.

    The thing is that I am very well paid in my current job. I also am fairly knowledgable and confident. However, the PHN position is maternal child health, which is interesting to me, but I haven't done that sort of thing since nursing school. In my interview last fall, I felt like I was two inches tall when they kept asking about maternal child health experiences. They also like you to be near fluent in Spanish, which I am not. I have 6 years of solid clinical skills from the hospital, but not in OB or peds. I speak basic Spanish, but am no where near fluent. So, I guess I am just really scared to be shot down again. I am also afriad I won't measure up- that basic new grad feeling all over again. I felt so nervous at the interview, and also very inadequate, as if my skills and experiences didn't count for much. I guess many folks must feel this way when they switch specialties.

    Ladybuglass- Your post made me laugh (the alpha female comment). I see that attitude in my hospital as well...even on the step down unit. Too bad it didn't work out for you in ICU. But I'm glad you got out before it really ruined your health. I would say to go for public health, if you want to! I know some of my nursing school classmates got PHN jobs right out of school, so I like to remind myself that even newbies can get their foot in the door. I guess we'll certainly never make it if we don't at least try. Good luck to you!
  6. by   duncanRN
    Thanks for what you said. I have been an RN in the hospital setting for one year. I have been offered a PHN job, with great hours, but really low pay. What you said makes me realize that when you hate your job (and I did not like the hospital), no amount of money is worth it.
    Quote from Quickbeam
    kona2: you might want to look beyond a strictly PHN definition. I'm a community health nurse, for a state agency. I create health policy for a large population. I do some case management, some legislative work, a lot of teaching, public speaking and community outreach. I love it, and it comforts me to know I can do this job through to retirement, even in a wheelchair if I had to!

    Please do know that these types of jobs tend to pay considerably less than hospital nursing jobs. I took a 10K pay cut, which I've since recovered in raises. For me, the low stress of this job is worth ten times that but many nurses find it impossible to consider any pay cuts.

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