Got the Job!!! (Health Dept.)

  1. So I'm floating on cloud 9 bc I was offered the position for the job I really wanted. I was surprised they offered me the job so quickly. There is still a lengthy process to go through, but overall I'm excited and ready to move on to something else. I am taking a significant pay cut, but the benefits and perks of the job outweigh the hourly salary.

    Can anyone that works for the health department expand on the job itself, benefits, and overall atmosphere. I've only read good reviews as compared to typical floor nursing that I'm currently doing. I'm very excited, comments, experiences, and opinions are all welcomed.

    Thanks in advance
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    About wife&mommyRN

    Joined: Aug '09; Posts: 239; Likes: 157


  3. by   Bbo.W
    No advice, I am a student, but congratulations and good luck!
  4. by   Simply_KiZmet
    I just accepted a position with a health department today!!! I was searching for resources and ideas of what to expect... So no advice here either but, Congratulations! Hopefully we'll be able to share experiences in the near future.
  5. by   wife&mommyRN
    Congrats Simply Kizmet,

    Any ideas as to when you will start and what area you will be working in ???
  6. by   Simply_KiZmet
    Today was my "Get to Know Everyone/Tour" Day.... The county director just wanted to introduce me to everyone, show me where things are, and answer any questions I had. She made me feel very comfortable. My official start day is April 1st which will be full of paperwork... It's a small facility so we get to do it all (Immunizations, Disaster Preparedness, STDs, Diabetes & Hypertension, WIC, and many other community outreach programs). She said it'll take about a year before I'm fully trained in all the different areas... The staff has been around this facility for years and you can just tell they love what they do. I know I'm going to enjoy it.
  7. by   QTNurseBSN
    If you enjoy autonomy and patient education then you will do fine and you will love the job. I was a public health nurse almost 4 years ago. I absolutely loved my job, unfortunately I left because I was pursuing my BSN through a RN to BSN Program and needed the flexibility to complete my final semester of school because of the clinicals. Congratulations! There is a lot to learn but you will do great.
  8. by   anurseatlast
    Congrats on your new job! I do public/community health but in a different type of setting. I do a home-based program for pregnant and parenting teens. I LOVE my job. I knew this was what I wanted to do when I went to nursing school.

    What do I love about public/community health:

    *having time to do teaching (a lot of what I do)

    *developing long-term relationships (I see them for about a year)

    *feeling that I make a difference for the moms and their children

    * empowering the moms to be their own advocates

    * seeing the moms reach goals they have set (no preterm birth, no repeat pregnancy, getting a job, graduating high school, getting accepted for college, improved nuttition, getting on the floor and playing with their baby, etc)

    * collaborating with others in the community to prove needed services to the moms/babes

    * working with a great team (at my agency) They are fabulous, dedicated women (yes, all women on my team)

    Your job will be different than mine but there will be many similarities too - working with an underserved population and providing needed services that can change lives. Congrats on your new job. I hope you love it too.
  9. by   nurseart
    Congrats on the job!

    I have been working as a public health nurse at a health department for the past 4-5 months and love it.

    I was hired as the STI and backup to family planning nurse. That role includes clinic 2-2.5 days a week, treating contacts for STI's, calling to follow up on STI cases that were diagnosed privately to ensure the patient received treatment and offer anonymous partner notification. In addition, I manage the ADAP program which provides medications to HIV positive patients in our area. Since starting, I was also given the communicable disease piece so I do investigations for things like campylobacter, lyme disease, acute hepatitis and other reportable disease. Then I put the data into a database that the CDC and other organizations use for statistics. I have also taken on updating some of our brochures and joined a committee. Other nurses at my health department manage maternity and the babycare program or work with immunization, which I was oriented to but won't be routinely working.

    What I LOVE about my job is: A, My coworkers, all the nurses get along and there is a good team spirit. B, I am always doing something different and have yet to be bored. C, *knock on wood* our patients aren't terminally ill, they can all breathe, and while there have been some hairy moments due to various forms of substance abuse there is not much life or death on a daily basis. D, I have time to be a GREAT nurse. There is lots of time for patient education, I can follow up on patients that concern me, and I can actually advocate for patients. Finally. E, I am learning about a myriad of cultural, socioeconomic, health and social issues. F, the benefits and hours are great.

    There are a couple of things I am not thrilled with. A, perhaps it is specific to my health department but it seems like it is very difficult to fire state employees after the probation period. Excellence is not expected, but accepted if you choose to do it. We have one clerk that is consistently very rude to patients, gives incorrect information and does not perform tasks well that has not and probably will not be fired. B, While it is the reason I took the job, remember that the population you are likely to be serving leads very difficult and chaotic lives. It can be draining, make sure your coping skills are in good working order. C, let's be honest, while 12 hour shifts in the hospital are hard, those days off during the week are glorious. D, contacting people about STIs, while important to public health, is tricky. I try my best to maintain confidentiality, but I worry about parents seeing a strange number on their kids phones, abusive boyfriends, and repercussions in already abusive relationships (which are shockingly common, by the way). I've already had my share of angry partners (male and female) and parents calling to scream at me.

    Atmosphere really varies based on the office and you will learn yours soon enough. In terms of benefits, I have a good health care plan, life insurance, all state holidays (12 a year!) plus vacation, family personal and 64 hr (!?!) sick leave, 16 hour community service leave, and a boss that will let me go do continued learning and conferences without taking time off as long as I cover my expenses and clinics. I hear that my state is pretty bad about working with people that want to go to graduate school so that might be a problem for me down the road.

    Overall, this is the first job in my almost 3 years after graduating where I feel like a NURSE that is HELPING people who could really use excellent, affordable, accessible care delivered in a caring, competent and confidential manner. Best of luck to you!
  10. by   wife&mommyRN

    thanks for the detailed information. I'm very excited to be starting this new journey, Im hoping I've found an area of nursing that I can actually love I'm used to the more difficult clients bc I currently work in an urban hospital and have seen all of the situations you've described and much worse in the flesh. Im just hoping I can actually make a difference in my new position. The hospital setting just isnt for me, I feel like it sucks the spirit out of nurses & I just want to get out while I still have a true passion for the field and patients. I'm also excited to be on a normal schedule, I feel like my brain/ body doesnt work as effectively after 10 hours, 12 hours for me just isnt safe. Do you work with patients all week/ are u in an office some of the time??? Thats wonderful that u hav flexibility, I really hope my facility is similar. Thats one reason I went into nursing is bc of the flexibility only to find out there really isnt any flexibility. I really dont have control over my schedule & when I want to take a vacation/ what day I want to be scheduled off during the week. If the schedule is already made, u r pretty much signing ur life over to it. Do u feel comfortable now that youve finished orientation???

    Thanks Again
  11. by   hunnybaby24
    Hi all,

    I was just wondering how you are liking the public health nursing job now that you have been doing it for a while?

    Thanks for the info!

  12. by   wife&mommyRN
    Hey Hunnybaby,

    I absolutely LOVE my new position, the ppl r really nice. Everyone loves and enjoys there job. They r like a family. I don't miss the floor @ ALL. There is alot of autonomy, but I can;t really enjoy that aspect of it until my probationary period is over with. Its truly a wonderful and fulfilling career that has longevity established for its nurses. Its two completely different world, much like prison (floor nursing) vs. freedom (PHN).
  13. by   nurseart
    I will be at 6 months next week and love it. Yesterday went to a training on adoption and options counseling and was so happy because I kept thinking "this is it. this is my tribe, this is were I belong!' It was great.
  14. by   wife&mommyRN
    Lucky U I can't wait until my 6 months r up, its so far away for right now I willl b glad when my 90 days hit they really make u wait, but its soooooooooo worth it in the end. I just thank God everyday for taking me out of the hospital, I really felt robbed and taken advantage of once I saw how nurses r supposed to get treated. The hospital benefits and work env r beyond terrible. Then the whole cancellation policies r a load of crap, this is the only full-time career Ive ever heard of where u weren't guaranteed ur hours. There r ppl @ my job that take months off when they want with no hassle/ blackout days. They get the time they want when they want with no worries about leaving their teammates short staffed. They really pride themselves on the team approach and allow the nurses to control their job. PHN ROCKS!!!

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