Need info on becoming PH nurse

  1. hi, i am currently applying to a nursing program and i am looking at all the avenues available to me once i get my RN. i have a degree in anthropology and i'm looking for a way to, in some way, combine the 2 degrees. i am also very interested in OB, perinatal, and newborn/early childhood care. i would love to work with pregnant teens, teen moms, and/or those who don't have access to good care.

    with that being said, does it seem like i could do something in the PH sector with this? do you need a Master's degree to get into PH? any information i could get regarding the PH field would be greatly appreciated.

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    About tracelc

    Joined: Dec '02; Posts: 9


  3. by   Jayla
    Funny--you sound just like me! I also have a previous degree in Anthropology, and now I'm a PHN. I love it and if working with underserved people, especially immigrants, is your passion, public health is the place to be. I work with pregnant moms and babys, among many other things that I do. There's a nursing shortage in PH too.

    During nursing school, you will have a "capstone" or leadership rotation, where you will basically work FT as a nurse. Request to be placed in a PH setting, and then you can get your foot in the door. This is what I did, and now I work there!

    Most PH departments (local and state goverment operated - a downside d/t all the beauracracy) require a BSN, but if you have a previous BA they might accept that if you're going for a 2 year RN degree.

    Look into your local health departments and at local "free"/community clinics. I found nursing school really focused onthe hospital setting, but if you know PH is where you want to be, don't lose sight of that. It's SO much better than the hospital!!

    Check out the Nursing Reinvestment Act for scholarship info if this is definitely your interest. Good luck!
    Keep me posted.
  4. by   tracelc
    wow Jayla! you do sound like me! do you have a BSN? i am applying to the ADN program here hoping that with a BA i won't need the BSN.

    i have done everything for the ADN program, and only need to wait and see if i'm accepted. i will definitely look into the programs you wrote about.

    thanks for your insight!
  5. by   NurseCard
    I am also seriously thinking about applying to work in PH, and I too have a BA degree! In art though, not in anthropology. I will start towards my BSN in Spring and then eventually my ARNP, hopefully.

    My MIL is a bigwig over the health dept's in our state, and she says that ARNP's make a killing there. 'Course I know RN's don't make much, but MAN it would be so much better than the hospital. I want out of the hospital so bad I can almost taste it. I read some of the horror stories posted by nurses both on the "General Nursing Forum" and the Med Surge forum, and I literally want to vomit after reading them, for the thought that I could very well have a night like they describe, any time. I think I would enjoy working in the health department; I've thought that for some time but have never really pursued it.
  6. by   sarita279
    i myself am wondering about the best route for a public health career...i was thinking i would do a year of the med-surg thing just for a background of good clinical experience and skills. However, now I'm wondering if I would just be miserable for that year....but I do want to have the ability to really help people hands on one day in a community. One of my main goals in life is to probably work in another country, places with very little resources and access to care. Thus, I thought that doing some hospital nursing, and really understanding illness and treatments would help me do that better. Does that make sense? What do ya'll think?
  7. by   cristina26houston
    Hi! We are alike. What have you done since you have posted this one year ago? I am in the same situation now. I couldn't PM you. I want to go into Public Health, but I am definately not going into Med-Surg. It's just not me, ya know? Did you end up going straight into Community? I too, want to work in other countries, eventually. I think if we kept in touch with each other, we could give each other tips along the way. E-mail me at because I rarely log-on. But, you were worth it!
  8. by   cristina26houston
    is there such a job as a "traveling public health nurse"? i'm going to a career fair friday, and my resume has the title for a "public health nurse". well, after a year's experience, i wanted to start traveling. will i have to pick another field (pacu) for traveling? or can i have a "travel public health nursing" career? from what i read on here, public health nurses keep their same jobs for long periods of time. therefore, do they even have travel positions for 2 months somewhere as a public health nurse. or.. do i have to put pacu as a title i am looking for on my resume for the career fair this friday so that i get a year's experience in that field, in order that i may start traveling? i can't get a hold of anyone that could answer this question for me! does anyone know? i don't even know how to start my own thread!