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Fay W. Whitney School of Nursing|College of Health Sciences

Nursing Careers:
Public Health Nursing


Johnna French, RN, BSN, CLC

  • University of Wyoming School of Nursing
    BSN '11

What drew you to this career?

Being able to provide direct hands on nursing care in the home for women and infants.

How did you prepare for it?

I spent 18 years as an office nurse and I worked closely with public health nurses because they were able to go into the homes of first time parents and help them with breastfeeding, newborn and parenting concerns. Office nursing is similar to public health nursing, because office nurses are able to take more time with patients and become familiar with their home situations and settings. Public Health provides their nurses with specialized training and education sessions to prepare them for home visits and other public health duties such as emergency preparedness. A career as a public health nurse demands that a nurse be a continual lifelong learner in order to keep current with various public health trainings and certifications. A bachelor in nursing is the educational background for public health nurses who are not in management.

What do you like the most about this career?

Providing nursing care and education in the home. Health practices most often begin at home; so as a home nurse provider, it’s the most ideal setting for education and teaching.

What are the biggest challenges?

Maintaining cultural competency in the home. Most public health clients are at or below the poverty level and their values and ethics are very different from middle class.

What advice would you have for a student interested in this field?

Anyone interested in being a public health nurse needs to be comfortable submerging him or herself culturally into a variety of challenging situations; therefore the nurse must be very comfortable in their own culture, ethics and values and be able to see beyond themselves.

Extra info about Johnna French:

Jeannie works as Administrator of Extended Care at Ivinson Memorial Hospital in Laramie, Wyoming. She also serves as a relief RN at Hospice of Laramie.

"I am an avid runner & skier, and I believe in living in a healthy active lifestyle. I also consider myself a lifelong learner. When I’m not running, I volunteer in the community in a variety of organizations such as: Zonta Club of Laramie, Runner Girl, High Plains Harriers and the Laramie Breastfeeding Coalition. As previously mentioned I’ve been a nurse for 19 years and I find this career has worked well with my lifestyle. I simply love nursing, as it allows me to give back to society at the community level."

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Johnna French

"A career as a public health nurse demands that a nurse be a continual lifelong learner in-order to keep current with various public health trainings and certifications." French participated in the school's "Speed mentoring" session in 2012.

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