Qualities for a nurse in public health

  1. Hi All. I was a school nurse in a deaf & blind school for 5 years & absolutely loved it. Now I am in the public schools & am pretty certain that I am not cut out for it. There has been a public health nurse position open for quite some time here. I am wondering what it is like to be a public health nurse.

    The paperwork in the public school is really getting to me. I am spending the majority of my time on case management & I hate that. I really need more interaction with people than with a computer! So I am curious about public health if you wouldn't mind sharing!!
    Last edit by J-lynn on Sep 17
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    About J-lynn

    Joined: Apr '18; Posts: 35; Likes: 57

    4 Comments

  3. by   nursej22
    I work in a small local health department and patient contact is minimal. I spend a lot of time in meetings, and watching webinars. The trend for public health, at least in my state, is for direct care to be done by primary care and pharmacies, with public health sort of coordinating the delivery and assisting patients/clients to providers. I work in immunizations, but hardly give any, and in TB, which consists a lot of looking at risk factors and entering data. the communicable disease nurses I work with interview people about reportable conditions, track down contacts and recommend testing. The nurses with the most patient contact are the nurses in the Nurse Family Partnership program, and I believe they do a lot of case management.
  4. by   Dallas Stars RN MN
    Look at postings in your state and local public health departments to see what is out there. It is common to find positions in prison/jail/psyche institutions, communicable disease prevention and tracking, environmental health, for children with special needs programs, and also the Nurse Family Partnership- an evidence based program where an at risk mom is followed during pregnancy through the child's infancy. Another common role is nursing home surveyor. You can also see the salary range- often public health departments struggle with funding and this is reflected in the nursing salaries.

    As mentioned in the previous post, many health departments are moving away from providing direct patient care. See this link for the core functions and responsibility of public health agencies which will give you an idea of skills that you might want to develop for this career area. http://www.astho.org/Public-Policy/F...Public-Health/

    If you are interested in epidemiology, policy, and implementing strategies that improve the well being of a community of people, public health could be for you. The focus is population rather than individual based.

    However, if you don't like paperwork- and are involved in direct patient care, I don't know of any setting where this is avoidable. The role that I had in public health required some case management and yes lots of paperwork. In more senior public health roles, you will be attached to your email and these require writing reports, political savvy and soft skills.
  5. by   Everline
    I am a public health nurse who does direct patient care every single day. I have to chart, of course but I don't have an abundance of paperwork and there is not much that I do that could be called case management. The thing about public health nursing positions is they can vary a lot from one place to another. There are a lot of things a public health nurse can be doing. So you really have to read job descriptions and ask the public health nurses in your area what their jobs entail.
  6. by   laflaca
    Quote from Everline
    The thing about public health nursing positions is they can vary a lot from one place to another. There are a lot of things a public health nurse can be doing. So you really have to read job descriptions and ask the public health nurses in your area what their jobs entail.
    +1 for this....different jurisdictions have very different roles (and funding) for PHN's. In my area there are tribal PHN's who do extensive hands-on clinical work in home and clinic settings (wound and diabetes management), there are PHN's in small counties who do a bit of everything (case management, vaccinations, disease control, STI testing), and there are PHNs who have strictly office-based jobs planning or evaluating programs.

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