A little background: When I was in my early 20s, I wanted to be in public health and thought a BSN was practical in a way that an MPH was not, so eventually I entered nursing as a second career in my early-30s after graduating from an accelerated BSN program and it has been a rough ride for me - to put it plainly I don't like being a nurse alot of the time and since I have been doing this for 8 years the feeling isn't likely to go away. I believe I am constantly in the position of having great responsibility withour any authority and it wears on me.
I spent three+ years in the USPHS working for the Indian Health Service which seemed a total mess that ran its nurses very hard and doesn't care about their careers or job satisfaction - 'burn them out and get new ones with our loan repayment' seems to be the philosophy. I am working as a public health nurse now and hope to start an MPH epidemiology program full time next year and work some hospital shifts for cash flow. Once I can get that credential, I have some decisions to make.
I would love to be in a uniformed service, so I might try to work for the CDC as a PHS officer (no more IHS for me) but I know alot of RNs are trying desperately to get out of IHS & BOP & DIHS and want the same CDC positions I am interested in. That could be a long wait!
It just occurred to me today that maybe it would be worth it to cut my ties to nursing and try to enter the USAF as a public health officer and just take the reduction in rank so I can do public health epidemiology without any RN specific functions at all. I am that sick of nursing.
Does that make any career sense to anyone on this board?:bowingpur
Jun 17, '09
If you are passionate about something then it shouldn't be a "crazy" idea. I would suggest researching the position you are interested in and then takling to a recruiter. The rank could possibly be the same or if not then you would come in as 2LT and rank up to 1LT(the rank I believe you would come in as a RN with 8 years experience) Good Luck!
Jun 18, '09
The idea does not sound crazy if all works out. I have not hear much talk of public health in the Air Force. I know Army does have one but I don't know about epidemiology.
So what is it about nursing in specific you don't like? Is it the patient care? If so what type? Is it the politics? You worked for the IHS but what did you ACTUALLY do?
Jun 18, '09
Since you were kind enough to ask about my experiences, I hope you understand this is my opinion and no reflection on your experience. I hope you love nursing!
"So what is it about nursing in specific you don't like? Is it the patient care? If so what type? Is it the politics? You worked for the IHS but what did you ACTUALLY do?"
Last question first: I was a telemetry staff nurse which was rarely intellectually stimulating at all: rule out MI, DKA and endless drunks. Please keep in mind that IHS uses it's USPHS nurse officers any way it wants no matter what you signed on to do (stories could be told!) and as all the tele staff left, the supervisors just worked the survivors harder. Not a good experience...
As to your first question: In 8+ years I have found patient care occasionally fulfilling but not the nursing contribution. I can't see myself as any kind of staff nurse and the PHS NPs I met in the Indian Health Service were very unhappy with their jobs and hoped for a Coast Guard assignment - why work that hard for THIER jobs. No thanks. Besides most do drudge work in the IHS or BOP or DIHS anyway and don't do cool things at NIH, CDC, FDA,etc.. In my opinion, there are interesting jobs for USPHS officers but they are held by MDs or epidemiologists.
As to the rest, I despise nursings inferiority complex - to simplify, MDs love cures and RNs love policies and don't want to make independent judgments. My relationships with nurse managers is the worst of all, but is a different thread...
Jun 20, '09
I can see your frustration. As a USPHS nurse can you apply for anything on USAJOBS? The NIH has nursing positions available. Can you apply for VA jobs that are posted on USAJOBS and still stay with the USPHS?
No matter what if you are not happy doing what you are doing now, it is time for a change. Go with the gut instinct, no matter how crazy.
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