Public Health Nurse

Public health nurses specialize in health issues affecting entire communities. They teach people about public health problems by organizing public awareness campaigns, teaching classes, and placing brochures in public buildings.

The following are typical duties of public health nurses:

  • Keep track of health trends and determine populations at risk for certain health problems
  • Establish goals to improve community health
  • Lobby elected officials to increase access to healthcare for poor and unemployed individuals
  • Organize public awareness campaigns about preventative health screenings, nutrition, and various public health issues
  • Teach classes about healthy behaviors

Public health nurses offer medical services to people living in inner-cities and poor areas, including pre-natal care, immunizations, and services for the elderly. Public health nurses also assist doctors and emergency response specialists during epidemics and other disasters.

Working Conditions

Public health nurses are employed at community health centers, non-profit organizations, government agencies, and hospitals. They frequently work in teams with other healthcare specialists. Public health nurses provide patient care, but they also organize activities, oversee budgets, and analyze community health programs for efficiency.

Public health nurses are required to travel occasionally to attend meetings and assist people in poor communities.

Career Training and Education

Public health nurses must be good listeners, understand cultural differences, and work effectively in groups. They must also be effective resource managers since public health nurses employed by government agencies work with limited resources.

Most public health nurses hold bachelor's degrees in nursing, but some nurses with associate's degrees find entry-level jobs. Registered nurses with master's degrees in public health nursing enjoy better job opportunities and often get promoted to management positions.

One way to gain practical experience in public health is to volunteer with a nonprofit organization, community center, or hospital. Those interested in public health advocacy should volunteer with nonprofit groups specializing in public policy.

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