In about two weeks I will be starting a new position working in a family planning clinic and a little work with BCMH at a county health department. I am so excited! I have worked as a LDRP RN for several years.
I'm having a difficult time fully preparing for this new role because it seems there is limited information about community/public health out there as compared to other specialties. The manager said I should be studying birth control meds, so I have been busy with that. If anyone out there has any advice or can point me in the right direction to get better prepared, I would appreciate it! Thanks!
Last edit by nursem18 on Nov 5
: Reason: Clarity
I am a public health nurse in a family planning clinic. We also test/treat STDs and other infections. In addition to knowing the various birth control methods and all the instructions and things that can come up with them, it's very important to consider how you will present your education. Presenting information in a way that is easily understandable, doing counseling in an open non-judgemental manner and building relationships with people who may be culturally very different is an important part of your role. I'm sure you know this as a LDRP nurse but this will still be different on some levels.
Make notes for yourself for things you may not remember easily. Learn what you are and are not allowed to say or do in your clinic due to funding sources. I built up a binder of information that has been very helpful along the way. (I learn something new everyday and often add to my work binder.) If you have an office, make sure things are situated in a way that is comfortable and easy for you to navigate and that you have the supplies you need. (I do a lot of IM injections and like things just so.)
You will probably have to learn a new system of electronic documentation, which might take a while (or maybe you'll easily jump right in!) Also, build up a good solid list of resources for people who need it. (Check it with your supervisor to make sure you are recommending places that are ok with your clinic. They may already have a list of places and you can just make sure you have them easily at hand.) I have a file drawer of info sheets on all forms of birth control, including tubal ligations and all STDs. It's good to always be aware of what you can do to grow as a nurse and be better each day for your patients, IMO. Recently, I have started "practicing" condom use teaching after fumbling a bit in the explanation to a young patient who had no idea how to use one correctly.
You might go to the FPTNC website for education and resources. They have webinars, pdfs and etc for many topics.
I could probably write a novel here, but I'll leave it at that. Best of luck to you! I absolutely love being a PHN and I hope you do too! Make sure you get to know and have great relationships with your co-workers. Learn who knows what and how to get things done. Good interactions with your co-workers in public health are essential. Build relationships even with people you only speak with on the phone. The more people you know and build good communication with, the better you will be able to do your most important work, which is advocating for your patients!
That is so helpful! Thank you so much!
Everline posted a ton of great information, so I won't double up on that. But here are some helpful web resources that I use all the time in my work as a family planning nurse:
How to determine if a contraceptive method is medically appropriate for someone:
CDC - Summary - USMEC - Reproductive Health
Some great online web-trainings for how to do have some of the conversations you'll be having plenty in family planning (how to present contraceptive options and have a client-centered conversation to help them pick a method, pregnancy options counseling, LGBTQ-friendly services, etc)
Quality Family Planning Recommendations (QFP) | Family Planning National Training Center
CDC STI testing and treatment guidelines:
2 15 STD Treatment Guidelines
LGBTQ healthcare best practices
Learning Modules - National LGBT Health Education Center
Beforeplay.org and bedsider.org both have provider sections where you can read more around sexual health topics. Welcome to family planning! Please let us know how your new job goes and if we can help you with other resources or questions.
Those are great resources! Thank you so much!