Thoughts on nursing as a way into epidemiology?

  1. Good morning/afternoon/evening/night everyone!

    I've been lurking for a number of years but finally seem to have a question that hasn't been covered before. I'm currently a senior majoring in zoology/psychology (I know, I know...not the best of plans), and have found that I've immensely enjoyed taking classes in Parasitology, Medical Entomology, and now Emerging Infectious Diseases. I think I'd like to pursue a job in epidemiology once I graduate, but most entry level jobs around here seem to require at least an RN or a degree in microbiology, and prefer a masters in nursing or public health. It seems like getting a masters in public health would be the logical approach, but from what I've heard the market is saturated, and the schools around here that offer it are pricey, especially compared to the associate degree in nursing from my home town (about $7-10K)...but the nursing market seems to be saturated as well. On top of that, I'm not a city person (the polite way of saying I'm counting down the days until graduation so I can trade concrete for trees), so I'm looking for careers that allow me to live rurally...but I love learning and feeling like my work has wide spread applications, which correlates more to city jobs...gah!

    My question to all of you is what would you do if you were in my position? What is it like working in infection prevention as a nurse, and how long did it take you to move into that position? If you had to do it over, would you have chosen the same route into epidemiology? And are there jobs available in epidemiology in more rural areas?

    Thanks for reading this everyone I look forward to what you have to say!
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    About NoMoreTwist

    Joined: Feb '15; Posts: 2; Likes: 11


  3. by   Wildcats9
    Hi No More Twist,
    I currently have a Master's in Public Health-- my concentration was in health Behavior. I've come to the conclusion that in order for me to get a decent job in the public health realm, I need to have a clinical background, such as nursing. I moved to a new state after graduation so I didn't have the connections I needed for a good MPH job. I've considered taking some more epidemiology courses but know I'd also need some additional stats software experience. From my job searching experience, you'll find very few jobs in rural areas, as far as epidemiology is concerned-- one or two in health departments, maybe another in a hospital.... I'm guessing you might find a nursing degree beneficial to achieve your goals to become an epidemiologist. I know people who have landed jobs without the clinical degree but you'll need to be exceptionally proficient in data collection, data analysis, and disease research methods. Good luck!