I'm about to graduate with my BSN later this summer. As I complete this RN-to-BSN I feel empowered and ready to confront some real 'upstream' issues.
Right now I'm having difficulty visualizing how I would begin a career in public health nursing. What I mean by this, is, "Who hires nurses to do public health work?" State departments, non-profits...who else? Also, what kind of things can I do now to orient myself to this type of practice? I imagine myself going to work the first day and staring blankly at the wall thinking...where do I start?
Generally, I feel I'm skillful in analyzing research data, and I enjoy working with a team to develop creative interventions to real problems. It seems that these would be great characteristics to have as a PHN, but I'm just having difficulty with finding a starting point.
Thanks for any help or direction
***I don't know if this is relevant, but I am a relatively new RN with 5 months on a acute psych floor, and am now currently working at a LTAC hospital.
Jul 14, '13
Hopefully others with much more experience can respond, but I'm also a new nurse with my BSN and interested in public health. Once my schedule opens up next month, I plan to volunteer one day a week at my local state department of health. At my local DOH, there are many sub-specialties/programs they offer such as: WIC, prenatal clinic, environmental health, epidemiology, healthy star, immunization, public health preparedness, and the list goes on. As a volunteer this is the opportunity to learn about the different departments and how it's impacting your community. This is also when you find where you fit most and form connections in case an opening becomes available.
For me, that route is a start somewhere while we continue to work and gain more experience in the hospital that will be valuable to us in PH.
Sep 18, '13
County health departments, FQHCs, community & church-funded health clinics all hire PH nurses. Volunteering at a local health department may be a good way to see how the clinic runs. However, as a volunteer you may not be allowed to function as a nurse. Be very specific in letting the clinic know your needs. PH nursing runs the gamut from being painfully S-L-O-W and boring one day to performing every type of service the clinic offers multiple times throughout the day the next day. Most nursing experience--hospital, LTC, psych--will provide good base knowledge for PH nursing. Good luck in finding your niche!