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Rough transition to PH from ED

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by cant_touch_this cant_touch_this (New Member) New Member Nurse

35 Visitors; 2 Posts

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Hi nurse friends!

So I've been reading this site for a long while... all the way through nursing school and my first year as an RN in the ED. This is my first post. 

I've recently (as in a week ago) accepted a position as a public health nurse in my local health department. This is an administrative role and I am directly responsible for communicable disease case investigation and surveillance including TB/STDs, as well as supervising WIC and the school nurse program. I am also on a few committees like the Epi team and Child Fatality Prevention. I am loving it so far and I really want to do well in this position. 

However, this is a newly formed department as the county has broken away from a three county consortium to form its own independent health department. I am the first and only PHN. I have no public health experience aside from a community health practicum in my last year of university.

There has been no orientation or training to speak of and there are no systems in place for anything...recordkeeping, procedures, protocols or forms for creating records of investigation. We are currently reviewing policies to identify gaps and shortcomings. I report directly to a population health director who is not a nurse. 

I do have several off site state consultants that I can ask for help but I am so afraid that I am going to screw up and fail to meet some regulation or another,  just because I am unprepared. We have some deliverables due by the end of the month and it really hasn't been explained clearly to me how to fulfill these deliverables. I have wanted to work in public health since before I even became a nurse and landing a job like this was a huge goal for me. 

I just need advice and resources honestly. I'm a persistent, creative,  and tenacious individual and I WILL find a way if one exists. I am excited about being a part of forming this organization from the ground up and I really just want to do a good job. Any and all feedback is welcomed!

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4,371 Visitors; 147 Posts

Hm.. Are you a member of your state's public health association, or the American Public Health Association? If you are the only nurse and there is not another nurse (even one perhaps at the 3 county consortium) you can ask these questions, likely there will be a mechanism in your state association (or if you have a state public health nurse association, even better) where you can connect with peers who can hopefully help provide you with advice. Public health is so different in every state, advice from even a neighboring state might not be the way things are done at all in your area. 

If you are a member of APHA, there is definitely help to be found in the public health nursing section. https://www.apha.org/apha-communities/member-sections/public-health-nursing

 

Good luck in your new role!

Edited by SiwanRN

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35 Visitors; 2 Posts

Thank you for replying! I am going to take your advice about getting involved with a professional association. One of my consultants invited me to the quarterly meeting for the public health nursing association for our region this coming Friday so I am going to attend and hopefully make some contacts through networking. I know that once I get my bearings a little more that I am going to be great at this! 

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