I'm a recent new grad (May 09) from an ADN program. Just passed NCLEX. I am also a mid-life career changer with a BA in social science and work experience in IT. I'm pretty sure the hospital setting is NOT a good fit for me personally. My gut is telling me that public health is more along the lines of where I need to be. My ultimate career goal at present is informatics - perhaps public health informatics. I am planning to enroll in a PHN certificate program in the fall.
My question is: is hospital experience necessary for an entry level position as a PHN? I was hoping to go directly into public health, but not sure if I need at least a year in the hospital to be more marketable. Of course right now the economy and budget cuts means very limited employment opportunities anywhere. Public Health where I'm at is closing clinics and programs. But I would almost be more willing to volunteer time in public health for experience and get a part-time job for income rather than deal with the rat-race high intensity stress of the hospital environment.
Thanks for any suggestions/advice.
Jun 23, '09
if you can, it is best to have at least a year of floor experience before going to public health. however, some agencies will hire new grads as phn's. i, myself, had about a year of floor experience before my transition to public health. however, i knew before nursing school that i wanted to be a phn, so i volunteered in public health while in school. i think this helped in securing a phn position later at the same agency, so i think volunteer experience is great. you would learn a lot. since then, i've moved and changed jobs, but i still remain in public health. my advice to you is to do what is gonna make you happy and give you peace of mind. i wish you the best of luck on your journey!
Jun 24, '09
Thank you for your reply. I am really struggling with the idea of getting that 1 - 2 yrs of med/surg experience in the hospital - I am no spring chicken (mid 40s) and I have 2 young children < 7 yrs. My personal experiences with clinicals and reading the posts on the "First Year after Licensure" forum have me doubting whether I can manage the stress and anxiety effectively. I think that if I were 10 - 15 yrs younger OR without young children - it would be a no brainer, I would do it. Being older + having little kids at home + a high stress job just seems to spell health problems and rapid burnout. I was hoping for alternatives.
Jun 24, '09
one of my best friends, who i met in nursing school, does not have a lot of hospital experience under her belt either. like you, she is a career-changer who is retired from her previous job and came to find nursing later in life. she quickly discovered the hospital setting wasn't for her and left before her orientation was over. she accepted a position in public health, worked there for a few years, and has recently accepted a civil service position (day job) as a nurse in a clinic setting. she is still an excellent nurse and an even better friend. there is a 14 year age difference between us. my point is that you can still have a career as a nurse without hospital experience. it can be done. you have to take into consideration where you are in your life and what you are looking for in your future. even though i wasn't too fond of hospital nursing it was very hard for me to leave, too. i felt guilty for wanting to leave and it took me a long time to finally make the decision to leave, but in the end i decided it was the best thing for me and for any future patients i would have had on the floor. i was feeling stressed and burned out and it wasn't good for me. i barely saw my husband due to our conflicting schedules or had any time off. i was working double shifts. public health is a lot less stressful and more complementary to family life. i wish you the best!
Must Read Topics