Published Mar 31, 2011
I am a recently accepted student to UCSF for the ACHIN program. I haven't met too many other Advanced Community or International Health Nurses and I was wondering if you're out there, what you do, how you got into this specialty, and any interesting things?
Congrats on getting into the program! I'm interested in applying for this program soon (for the school year beginning 2012). Do you mind if I ask if you are a MEPN student or MSN? I just graduated from nursing school in May 2010 and I am trying to figure what I need to do to make myself a better applicant for the ACHIN program. Any advice? Thanks!
Again, congrats!!! =D
I'm a MEPN. I don't know what advice to make you stand out because MEPNs are such a different category of people from the MSN students. Everyone of the MEPNs has a very unique profile. My best advice is go to the information session, meet the professors, ask a ton of questions, and do a ton of research of former students, current students.
I am finishing my MS at UCSF in the Advanced Community Health and International Nursing program in June. So I don't have a CNS job yet but I'm starting to think about what to look for. Unfortunately the economy is going to affect our specialty since money for public health is slowly disappearing. But I'm hoping to find something at a non-profit, prison or community health organization (international/global health would be a plus but would be much harder to find) or teaching. I have 10 years ER/ICU/clinic experience and some teaching experience in developing countries (Malawi, Afghanistan)
I wouldn't say that the MEPN students are a different category of people from masters students. Some of them already have masters degrees (like MPH) but not all do. I have found that ALL students at UCSF are exceptional, hard-working and driven.
To make yourself a competitive candidate, I would suggest that you focus on why you want to be in the ACHIN program specifically, emphasize any community health experience you have or why community/public/global health is important to you, and what you want to do with that training. Good luck!
I think that's good advice. What I meant by MEPNs being different from the MSN students is that MEPNs aren't nurses yet and dont' have the experience that BSNs have coming into the MSN program. They also come from a variety of backgrounds like engineering, public health, biology, social work, etc. So that what they look for in a MEPN candidate as reflected in my interview questions has a lot of to do with what you know about being a nurse, why you want to be a nurse, community work, volunteering, and passion for serving.
Can I ask what experiences brought you to ACHIN? What type of international work or teaching did you do? What type of advice would you give for incoming ACHIN students to succeed? Anything to take advantage of or to not worry so much about? Do you know about the scrubs sale and when it happens?
Well, after being in the hospital a few years I got frustrated with and tired of the hierarchy, the rules, the pace, the exhaustion, the lack of appreciation, and not feeling like I was making a difference. That's why I wanted to switch to public health (where I may not feel like I'm making a difference either!). I liked ER but got burned out, I suppose. And global health has always been my main interest; disparities in health that are related to socioeconomic conditions, etc. I taught nurses in Malawi and Afghanistan, which was challenging but also rewarding in its own way. More my style, I think, than one-on-one bedside care.
If you're smart and committed (which you must be!) you'll do fine at UCSF. It's rigorous but not more so than other schools, I suspect. I was challenged a lot, and stressed a lot, but it's doable. Sadly the program was lacking in the global health area, which was a real disappointment to me. In fact, they're changing the name of the specialty (so I hear) from ACHIN to Advanced Public Health Nursing. So if you're hoping for international perspectives and opportunities, there are slim pickings! But in the end you'll have those letters after your name, and that's what will open doors. Or so I hope!
Thank you, I really appreciate that perspective. I also have an interest in health disparities and hope to work in that once I graduate (a long time from now). Did you ever do the Mexico mult-school summer trip to Cuernavaca? It seems like the only opportunity to travel in the program. Would you say that there are any opportunities one should especially look at?
The biggest disappointment at UCSF to me was the lack of international opportunities. I really thought that because the program was billed as a global health program and UCSF is such a major player in global health that there would be many opportunities for nursing students. But what a letdown. Unless you're connected to a research project in some way, it will be hard. If you want to do an international residency you really have to set it up yourself, meaning have a site in mind in advance and set it up at least 6 months before you want to go. Very difficult to do. I did not do the Mexico program, and ended up just doing local residencies. I figure I can hunt around for global opportunities later, when I'm graduated and have some experience as a CNS in PH.
One thing you might consider is the Pathways to Discovery program. There are about 4 opportunities each year for a nursing student to do some work abroad (though it's not a residency). I applied and was wait-listed but did not get selected in the end. It sounded like good experience but my feeling is that they chose students who did not have much international experience. Maybe they thought I already had too much? There is also the Global Health Clinical Scholars program, which I did get into. It's mostly didactic, lectures and such on global health topics, originally designed for medical students. There's no travel associated with it. But it looks good on a resume :)
Hi, I am a BSN student in Michigan who got an email regarding a oppurtunity for the Buenos Aires Medical Spanish program. Here is the link [email protected]. They also have a program in Cusco. Maybe this can provide you with an oppurtunity for a global experience?? I wanted to go, but I cannot afford it.
Stumbled upon this thread. The last response has been a quite awhile but interested in this ACHIN. Is this only offered in UCSF? What are the job opportunities for CNS in public health?
ACHIN is no longer offered at UCSF. It is now Advanced Practice Public Health Nursing because of the lack of international residencies. A Master's in Public Health Nursing (MS degree at UCSF not an MSN) is offered at many schools. I can think of John Hopkins and many others. I think with the economy, job opportunities are not very good but better if you work in rural areas. You can also do much of public health nursing positions with an MPH + RN. If you have an MPH you won't need the PHN Masters. This program does not provide clinical skills or patient contact so if you want that go for an NP program. This program is more focused on grant writing, program management, administration, and research.
^ Thanks for the response, cristaleena. MPH/Public Health Nursing was my first choice before I even finished my BSN. But with the economy right now, had to re-think about it. Thanks for the info.
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