I'm a new grad interested in Public Health

  1. Hello! I just graduated with my BSN this dec. I took the nclex last wed, and although I havent had any results, ive done the pearson vue trick and got the good pop up. Most people seem to think I passed.
    Im interested in pursuing a public health job. I loved public health in school and will further my education to get my master's in public administration in the near future.

    I need advice as to whether to pursue public health as a new grad or get experience in a hospital first. I currently work as a student nurse at a big hospital (for 2 years now) and I ask the nurses there their opinions, but they all seem to think I should get at least 2 years of med surge nursing first. I think their opinion is biased becaise all theyve known is med surge. They have been working med surge since graduation from school. Or a sniff, then hospitals.
    I feel I need advice from public health nurses because you guys know the field and a great number of public health nurses previously worked in hospitals.

    I like the hours of public health and the fact that you guys do a great deal for the community as a whole and that is what I want to get into. I loved teaching the community things and having health fairs in my public health class.

    Should I go ahead and pursue public health as a new grad or get med surge experience first?
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  2. 13 Comments

  3. by   klone
    Every public health nursing position I've seen listed has required at least a couple years of nursing experience.
  4. by   itinerantPHNAK
    After I graduated, I went straight in to public health nursing. I also really struggled with what to do also, to work in a hospital and do my time or start in something that I wanted to work in.

    My preceptor in public health always said that, even though she enjoyed her 10+ years in hospital nursing, nothing of it really carried over to PH nursing. yes, you learn how to give shots, but do you know the ins and outs of childhood immunizations? Can you teach a community presentation or perform a community assessment? Those are the kinds of things you do in public health nursing, and hospital does not really help with that.
  5. by   rudycoon
    My first job out of nursing school was as a PHN so it is possible to do. I don't think every state or county will consider new grads though so you need to look into it.
  6. by   mslovebug
    Quote from itinerantPHNAK
    After I graduated, I went straight in to public health nursing. I also really struggled with what to do also, to work in a hospital and do my time or start in something that I wanted to work in.

    My preceptor in public health always said that, even though she enjoyed her 10+ years in hospital nursing, nothing of it really carried over to PH nursing. yes, you learn how to give shots, but do you know the ins and outs of childhood immunizations? Can you teach a community presentation or perform a community assessment? Those are the kinds of things you do in public health nursing, and hospital does not really help with that.
    Thank you for your post! And I agree because I currently work in a hospital but as a student and I feel that I wont be able to take things from the hospital into public health. And I do want to get into PHN for the teaching capacity of it all. Thanks again.
  7. by   Mia415
    Hi just wanted to add, yes it will vary from county to county if they are willing to hire new grads. My county hired a new grad a year ago and hired me (a new grad) 3 months ago. My senior preceptorship was in postpartum/well baby so during my interview I drew heavily on examples from tht experience since the job is maternal child health. I had a 6 week training with a preceptor at my job. She always gave me great constructive feedback but told me early on "the knowledge is definitely there" I just had to work on organization and time management lol.
    I can see myself at this job for many years but I often think of if I wanted to go work in a hospital what I would say in an interview: I would say its easy to learn a skill like an IV or a foley with minimal training. But I have extensive experience in is communicating with clients, establishing trust, giving them health information in a non judge mental way, case management, working independently, collaborating with doctors, social workers, insurance, etc, and working with and understanding diverse populations including the most poor and the lowest educated, understanding of diverse cultural practices and clients attitudes towards health professionals, and helping a client find ways to improve health habits with minimal resources/minimal finances. Etc etc. hopefully if I ever do want to go back to a hospital, they will see all the great skills I have to offer! Even if I've still never put in a foley in my life :P
  8. by   rotteluvr31
    Follow your heart and your head. If it's what you really want to do, pursue it. If the PH agencies in your area require you to get some hospital experience first, than do so, but don't lose sight of your goal to work in Public Health. Good luck.
  9. by   AshleyPCA
    I am glad you posted this! I too, am concerned that if I get a PHN job right when I graduate in August, I won't be respected as a future advanced practice nurse or nursing faculty (what I'd like to go to graduate school for) if I don't have the med-surg experience. But, I think what you said was very true, and uplifting. Just because you've never put in a foley doesn't mean you aren't a competent and knowledgeable nurse. Thank you!
  10. by   toomuchbaloney
    Ugh...I really hate that every student in nursing and advanced nursing seems to have been fed a line of baloney that med-surg nursing is a requirement to do EVERYTHING. I call Bull Crap.

    Seriously, I have practiced in more than 5 separate specialties in the acute care setting, in the primary care setting, and in the field; over a 30+ year career, and I have NEVER cared for a single medical surgical patient in the hospital outside of my initial nursing school clinicals.
  11. by   AshleyPCA
    Too much baloney, just wondering what specialties you've worked in? Have you done other nursing cares and had patient care experience within those 30 years, or has it been strictly specialties such as education , management, etc.? Just curious!
  12. by   AlaBro2010
    I went for (and still have) a position in public health right after school. I really do love it. It's perfect for the advance practice nursing I would like to do which is women's health. I never really saw myself in a hospital environment but more of a clinic environment. In Florida there's numerous opportunities to move up also/avenues in public health.
  13. by   alloteysn
    Please help me put together a list of schools in across the US that offer a Public health with NP (FNP) or Masters in Public health With Masters of Nursing.
  14. by   ~Shrek~
    I have interviewed for new grad community health positions and that is what I am hoping to do. I don't think med/surg experience or even acute care experience is necessary unless you want to build a career in acute care or become a CRNA.

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