I have started my 90 hours of community health hours. The board of registered nursing requires the 90 hours of clinical hours. Once we graduate we can get our certificate and officially be a "Public Health Nurse"
The hardest part for me has just be adding in one more thing to my schedule. I am lucky in that I have a ton of PTO time at the hospital so I am able to take one PTO day each pay-period so I am working a little less but it has been an adjustment adding a new "job" per say to my calendar. That and just being the "learner" again instead of the expert nurse has been a challenge. Nothing like having 20+ years of nursing experience...only to go in to a new clinical setting and not know what the heck I am doing!!
I am at two different sites.
The first one is a crisis pregnancy center. Here I get to run pregnancy exams, collect specimens for STD (sexually transmitted disease) testing, educate on safe sex practices and early pregnancy. I also assist the nurse practitioner or the doctor with well women exams and early pregnancy exams. This includes first trimester ultrasounds for cardiac activity. It is so cool to be looking for that little baby...find it and watch it squirm around. I will say the ultrasounds are the most fun for me.
The second site that I am assigned to is a developmental follow-up program for previous NICU (neonatal intensive care) babies. The babies have to fit certain state criteria such as be born less than 32 weeks gestation or be less than 1500gms at birth. Basically - the baby comes back periodically to be checked to see where they fit on a develpmental scale (to see if they are on track, catching up or falling way off of the curve). This follow-up helps to show that neonatal care is important and supports why we do what we do.
So the babies are seen at 6 months / a year / and 18 months. As the nurse I get to weigh them, check their length and do a head circumferance (I obviously already to this at work but it is way different doing it on a toddler than on a newborn - HA!). Then I plot this information out on a growth chart.
I get to do a basic assessment then the social worker sees the family, I watch the occupational therapist do testing on the children then assist the doctor with her exam.
This clinic has been fun just because I get to see all of the little babies and see how happy the parents are just being parents to babies whose lives started out pretty scary.
I've also been able to get in to the NICU and see how things are done there. I am doing this at a different hospital than where I work which is pretty educational in and of itself ~ just interesting to see a different facility.
So there's a peek in to my current clinicals.
It is taking a bit of time to get it done but I am hanging in there (and still finding time to get homework accomplished!)
It is crazy busy~