Hi....just wanted to share my experience. I also have a BA in Sociology, concentration in social services. I was working for about 5.5 yrs at the welfare dept in California and I decided that I wanted to become a Public Health nurse , specifically! So, I applied to an ADN program in Texas (due to long waitlisting in Cali). Graduated in Dec 2009 took my NCLEX in May 2010 (was working fulltime @ the welfare office the whole while in school) and received my license. Bad timing for me! It was soo hard finding a job. The new grad programs were soo few and competitive to get into unless you knew somebody who knew somebody and the "good" hospitals only wanted BS Nurses. Plussss, everyone was crying about having 6mo-1yr med-surg experience (duh, new grad here)!!
Some states are more social service friendlier than others (Texas not being one of them) and the only jobs were at the health department, which is where I wanted to be, but budget cuts meant hiring freezes; definitely couldn't go back to California. Eventually, got hired working with psych/developmentally disabled individuals for a year. Meantime, did a two semester BSN program and graduated this past May. Recently got hired as a case manager at a health insurance company; coordinating care (patient education, health promotion, authorizing benefits for unmet needs like hrs for home health, medical equipment, community resources, etc.) for our Medicare/Medicaid members (funny because I used to be a Medicaid worker previously!!). Sooo, it's a mix of "public health" nursing (just no more clinical work) and social services. My BSN wasn't required but I'm glad I did it. I'm planning on doing the MPH program. Thought about the MSW but it seems a little too limiting to me in the sense that it really doesn't involve the "health" aspect (health promotion, education, planning, implementing, or evaluating community/health programs).
My advice to anyone going the nursing route would be to do the BSN program. There has been a lot of talk of making this the minimal requirement now. Since you have your BA, you could do either an accelerated BSN program (1yr..caution, do not work at all!!) or the traditional 2 yr program. Question is do you want to actually practice nursing (clinically) or do more health eduation/promotion? You could go directly into a MPH program, get a feel for it then decide if nursing is still calling you. Check out the various CEPH accredited MPH programs in your state (ceph.org). Don't let the sciences/chemistry scare you, like studying for the GRE annoys me :grn: !! Best wishes!!