Since the last time I blogged, my practicum has come to an end, I’ve departed Orlando, and am currently in Chicago amidst the holidays. I greatly enjoyed my times at the Orange County Health Department and relished all the opportunities and professional exposure I had to the broad field of public health. Having been to Disney World a couple of times when I was younger, Orlando always seemed like one cohesive, amusement park. However this internship, if nothing else, opened my eyes to the darker, less flattering and unmarketable sides of the city; Orlando was much more than simply the haven of Mickey and Minnie.
In the latter half of my practicum, I was able to shadow environmental specialists who inspected public restaurants and pools, help out a public health nurse practitioner in conducting hepatitis prevention programs at a methadone clinic, work with the emergency operations department in creating locations of treatment dispensing in the case of an emergency biological threat, and learned much about health disparities in Florida from the community health department. It’s been a rewarding experience, putting public health into action and from these collective experiences, I’ve had time to reach many conclusions on what I’ve learned. Continue reading
Yesterday was the first day of my practicum at the Orange County Health Department in Orlando, FL. Among my list of “first days,” it ranks pretty high. Although not much was planned for me, my conversation with one of the public health nurses in the epidemiology department, Karen, helped bring a little perspective into what life is like for a public health worker post-graduate school. Prior to working for the county health department, she had worked as an ER nurse at a hospital in New York City. Quite a large leap. When I asked her which environment she thought to be more stimulating, thought-provoking, and interesting, she surprisingly chose her current job within the epidemiology department. I was pretty flabbergasted, expecting her answer, in her subtle Jamaican inflection, to be “ER, hands down!” As I entered the department, all I saw was a precinct with a standard fare of workplace knicknacks–an unrelenting murmur of copiers, fax machines, and shredders, cluttered desks brimming with beige manila folders to give people a false appearance of preoccupation when really it’s just intense disorganization, and of course, an exuberant amount of anti-bacterial wipes to mop anything and everything under the sun, something I would expect of a department preoccupied with infectious disease. I silently thought to myself she thinks this is more exciting than the hustle and bustle of an ER within the largest metropolitan city in the country? Spilled coffee had to be the extent of “commotion” within this office. Continue reading