What is Public Health Nursing?

What is Public Health Nursing?

Public Health Nursing Jobs

What is Public Health Nursing?

Public Health Nursing jobs are available in public health education, managed care administration, and as disaster specialists. The coronavirus pandemic demonstrated to the world the critical nature of the public health system. It also renewed interest among students and working professionals in public health. But just what is a public health nurse, and what do they do?


How to Become a Public Health Nurse?

The process of becoming a public health nurse starts with earning a Bachelor’s or Master’s degree in Nursing. Once you complete your studies you can take the exam to become a licensed nurse. Your next step is to pursue a career in which you serve the community in that capacity. This can be as a nurse in your local Health Department or other government agency. You also have the option of returning to school and earning a degree in Public Safety Administration and Management. This will deepen your knowledge of community service. It will also give you the necessary skills to manage large case files and work with the community at large. 

Public health nurses assist organizations like the Salvation Army to help individuals who are victims of natural disasters and other events. They work in many different capacities. Some may collect vital information, assist patients in getting medications, and also create a safe environment for those affected. They are also able to ensure that schools and other local entities have what they need to maintain the highest safety standards possible. 


What Jobs Are Available to a Public Health Nurse?

Public health nurses can work in a wide variety of positions. As public health nursing homes may be held liable, they work hand in hand with public officials to keep the community at large safe and healthy. They can also find employment as public health educators teaching classes on many different topics. Managed care administrators and disaster specialists are also options. Public health nurses may work in many of these capacities, depending on the size of their community and how deep the workforce is.

Health services research analysts and project specialists in public health perform research to identify health issues in both the private and public sectors. These individuals gather information and use it to monitor factors that affect public health and well-being. This category also includes public health scientists as well. This type of scientist performs many different tasks that include monitoring water and air samples near factories and keeping track of outbreaks of disease or an increase of contaminants.


How Much Does a Public Health Nurse Make Each Year?

The salary of a public health nurse will depend on their level of experience, their education, and where they choose to start in terms of employment. Entry-level positions can make as little as $35,000 a year, sometimes less if they have very little experience and apply right after graduation. The more experience a student has when they first apply will have a direct impact on the type of position they are offered as well as the money they earn. Once a nurse has a year or two of experience, they can expect to receive offers for higher-paying positions.

Individuals with experience working in the healthcare system or medical facility may expect to earn around $80,000. Having a Public Health Nurse is also beneficial and may increase your earning potential dramatically. Earning a Public Health Nurse certification can also be beneficial. Additionally, students can complete a certification much faster than a degree program. Certifications are also helpful in terms of fulfilling state licensing requirements concerning continuing education courses. Both degrees and certifications meet continuing education requirements. However, certifications are much quicker to obtain and normally focus on one particular topic.


What Type of Degrees Are Best for a Public Health Nurse?

First and foremost, a Public Health Nurse must obtain a nurse’s license. This involves earning the minimum of a Bachelor’s degree in some type of nursing degree program. While certification courses are available, they will not take the place of an actual degree program. Instead, they work well for meeting the required hour of continuing education that are needed each year. The required number of continuing education hours needed to maintain or keep a license current is set by the state, with each state having its own guidelines.

There are several degree programs for those interested in a job as a Public Health Nurse. A Public Health Nurse can return to school and earn Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Public Health Administration or Public Safety, either of which provides the skills they will need to perform their duties. Public Health Management courses are also available that can provide additional instruction on how to work hand in hand with the public when dealing with a stressful situation.


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Sandra Janowicz
Author

Keeley Jones
Registered Nurse

Carrie Sealey-Morris
Editor-in-Chief