Public Health Degrees – Hear from the Students
Lakehead University

Like most nurses, I went into my undergraduate nursing program thinking I would end up having a career that involved working in a hospital. However, it didn’t take long into the program to realize that it was a job I did not foresee myself having for the rest of my life; I wanted to be involved in the lives of patients and clients beyond acute care and short-term interactions. It wasn’t until the fourth year of my studies that I was accidentally and thankfully exposed to the world of Public Health nursing through a placement that focused on school health with the health department in my local community. During this placement, I was able to witness first-hand the importance, value, and impact public health practitioners, policy makers, and primary prevention programs have on populations, communities and individuals. I was also able to build strengths in leadership, collaboration, report writing, critical thinking, as well as oral and written communication skills that have been fundamental to my success in Public Health.

My exposure to the field through other avenues such as conferences, volunteering and other networking opportunities have supplemented and enhanced this knowledge greatly. I have found no greater reward than to be able to holistically and comprehensively assess and address Public Health issues that individuals and groups of people face.

Lakehead was a natural choice for me to pursue my Masters in Public Health as its online program option allows me to still maintain local employment as a Public Health nurse in my own community, which was a priority for me when considering options for a Masters. As well, Lakehead is a highly-recognized institution known for its strengths in research and innovation. As the healthcare field is always changing, research and best practice evidence are essential to being a leading practitioner that can provide current, safe, and high-quality care.

The teaching staff in this program are quite exceptional in their own fields, but are also great at regularly presenting students in the program opportunities to participate in conferences and research initiatives related to Public Health. The wide variety of unique electives offered also present the opportunity for us as students to become knowledgeable in current issues faced in Public Health such as mental health and addictions and the complexities of food systems. The program also provides important courses in research methods, program planning and evaluation, and more. Although the adjustment to an online program was difficult at times, and is perhaps not an ideal fit for everyone, on-campus options are available for most classes in this program. I feel confident that when leaving the program in six months, I will possess a diverse background in a variety of topics and important core concepts in Public Health that will help me succeed in many avenues of Public Health in my career.

 

About the author

From a young age, Nicole had a goal of being involved in the healthcare profession, and began this journey through completing her BScN at McMaster University and becoming a licensed Registered Nurse in 2015. Nicole’s interest in health care was first sparked by her desire to be able to help others, but also her wish to leave a positive and impactful legacy behind in the work that she does. Her natural attraction to Public Health stemmed from her innate belief in strengthening and developing communities through primary preventative measures in order to develop capacity and maximize potential within all. Specifically, she is interested in giving a voice to those in vulnerable and underserviced populations. This brought her to Lakehead University in the Fall of 2015 to start the MPH program to further her competencies in this field.