May 26, 2005
College health nurse
I've been a nurse now for twenty years practicing mostly in the hospital setting. Two years ago, I had a yearning to work in a clinic setting of some sort. While taking a Trauma Care Coarse, one of the instructors who I hadn't seen around the hospital in awhile told me she had left the ER to practice at local college health clinic. After a long discussion about college health nursing, I decided to apply for an inpatient position at that includes weekend clinic hours. I still work in the ICU at our regional medical center as well as part time at the college health center.
While the role of nursing is similar, the actual role is dramatically different in many ways. First and most obvious, the patients at the health center are much younger and overall healthier than the typical hospital patient. Therefore, the plan of care for the student is very dynamic and changes in hours versus the plan of care for the hospital patient is longer and often changes over days. The student patient response to treatment is much faster and therefore their return to health is much quicker. For example, many of the students that are admitted to the inpatient unit for dehydration from gastroenteritis turn around within hours and are discharged in a day.
Secondly, my role as a college health nurse involves more primary health care nursing since the clinic is staffed with a physician during the weekday hours but is on-call during the evening and weekend. The nurses assess and diagnosis the students and then treat them accordingly via medical directives. Much of our care (assessment, diagnosing and treating) therefore is done independently. The students present with a wide variety of problems ranging from the simple conjunctivitis to the difficult injury or serious illnesses requiring central lines care. Boy, does this ever demand and strengthen independent assessment and critical thinking skills!
Overall, I thoroughly enjoy the differences in the two areas of nursing. I enjoy working in the student clinic equally as much as in the ICU. I learn something new everyday at each setting that strengthens my practice and care at the other setting. I don't believe that there are many professions that would allow this type of variety and contrast in the same professional role.
I enjoyed reading your letter about your job in a college health clinic. Even though you never worked in a school setting, did your acute care setting, esp. ICU experience help you obtain the position? I have tried several times to be hired in the same setting and they said because I did not have clinic experience I was not qualified. If I may add the fact I worked in the acute care setting--medical-surgical units for 27 years but for the last four I have been teaching in a Vocational school Health Science and Health Occupation. I take students to Long Term Care/Skilled Nursing Units for their 40 hours of clinical experience. I was slightly put off by the disregard for my many years in an acute care setting. My assessment skills were very polished and I try very hard to keep up with the lastest technology, medications, and trends in Nursing. I was interested in your input or any from other Nurses who have found inconsistencies in the hiring process.
Sincerely, P.Koran RN
Posted by: Pamela | Jul 4, 2005 4:18:30 PM
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