Are you among the many interested in knowing How to become a public health Nurse? Worry no more this article is the best piece for you.
As a result of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, public health nursing has become one of the most exciting and rapidly growing sectors in the healthcare industry.
In the event of a public health emergency, nurses who specialize in public health have the opportunity to make a difference on a worldwide scale.
Public health nurses are responsible for educating communities as well as advocating for their health.
Their work is mostly directed at individuals who are at high risk for a variety of health disorders, and they are especially active when there is a crisis affecting the public’s health.
This job collaborates closely with the other members of the team as well as the clinicians to provide health education and disease prevention in the interest of delivering the greatest possible level of public health care.
You will gain an understanding of the functions that public health nurses fulfill, the steps necessary to become a public health nurse, and the reasons why you should think about pursuing a career in public health nursing after reading this article.
What Is a Public Health Nurse?
According to the American Public Health Association, public health nursing is defined as the practice of promoting and protecting the health of a community by utilizing information from nursing, social, and public health sciences.
Because of the regular contact that they have with the most vulnerable members of society, public health nurses have an extremely important role, particularly among those members of society.
Advocates for their communities, educators of their patients, and providers of essential public health services are all things that these exceptional nurses do. They place a greater emphasis on safety and healthcare over the long term.
What Does a Public Health Nurse Do?
The prevention of disease and the promotion of public safety and well-being are two of the primary responsibilities of public health nurses.
They help communities improve their health and safety, as well as prepare for and recover from public health catastrophes such as natural disasters and disease outbreaks, which are examples of public health emergencies.
Depending on where they work, nurses who specialize in public health may offer a diverse range of services to the public. In particular, nurses working in public health:
- Screening procedures should be made available to particular groups of people.
- Immunizations should be administered to both adults and children.
- They offer information on healthy eating to participants of a variety of programs, including the Women, Infants, and Children program (WIC).
- Gather information and search for tendencies and patterns in disease outbreaks.
- Promote awareness and treatment of infectious diseases, including those that are sexually transmitted.
- Provide instruction on how to live a healthy lifestyle and avoid getting sick to people who are considered to be at high risks, such as drug addicts and prostitutes.
- Assist both patients and their families in the areas of psychosocial health, such as effective communication, aggression against intimate partners, and abuse.
- In the event of natural disasters or emergencies affecting the entire community, respond and put intervention plans into action.
- Give out the necessary drugs
What Are the Roles & Duties of a Public Health Nurse?
The field of nursing is significantly enriched by the presence of public health nurses. Many people, particularly those living in underserved, rural, or otherwise disadvantaged places, do not seek health treatment because they either cannot afford it or do not have access to it.
The mission of public health nurses is to educate patients and families in need while also providing medical care. Roles may include:
- determining a population’s nutritional, physical, and mental health requirements along with their psychosocial requirements
- Promoting awareness of the significance of preventative medicine and screening for preventative diseases
- Identifying instances of abuse or violence and taking appropriate action when necessary
- Providing incentives for individuals within the community to embrace healthy behaviors and ways of life
- Serving as an example for others in the community
- In the event of an outbreak of an infectious disease, providing intervention and education
- Taking advantage of and teaching patients about the various community resources that are accessible
- Taking on a leadership role within a community, particularly during times of crisis
Where Do Public Health Nurses Work?
Public health nursing has received more attention than it has ever received before as a result of the COVID-19 epidemic, the opioid crisis, and a rising understanding of the expanding understanding of the socioeconomic determinants of health.
Also, Public health nurses are in high demand from a wide variety of employers, including hospitals and health systems, nonprofit organizations, and government agencies.
You will have an easier time finding a position in public health nursing if you have a clinical placement or other experience working in public health settings, as well as experience working with the population that you intend to serve or proficiency in multiple languages.
According to Salary.com, the typical annual income for a registered nurse working in public health is $65,360.
Since public health nurses are trained to deliver a wide range of services, they are eligible for employment in several different environments. The following are examples of institutions where public health nurses can be employed.
- Health departments located within counties
- Health departments of the city
- federal agencies that deal with health-related issues
- NGOs specializing in public and private health care
- Services of a medical nature can be provided by mobile units.
How to become a public health nurse
The following are the steps that need to be taken to pursue a career as a public health nurse:
- Complete your education with a Bachelor of Science degree in Nursing.
To begin one’s journey toward a career as a public health nurse, it is necessary to earn a bachelor of science degree in nursing (BSN) from a school of nursing that has been granted accreditation by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE).
It is possible to become a nurse by completing either an associate’s or a bachelor’s program; however, obtaining a BSN is necessary to become certified in public health. Included in the required coursework are the subjects of anatomy and physiology, biology, nutrition, biomedical statistics, and chemistry.
When deciding the route to take toward earning your bachelor’s degree, it is important to investigate a variety of programs and the classes they offer.
- The NCLEX-RN exam must be passed.
You are not allowed to work as a registered nurse unless you have obtained your nursing degree in addition to your nursing license (RN).
In the United States, becoming a registered nurse (RN) requires passing a national exam known as the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN).
It validates that you have the clinical knowledge, skills in critical thinking, and talents necessary to work as an entry-level registered nurse.
Even though your role as a public health nurse will only need you to provide little patient care, you will still need a license to be able to administer immunizations and prescriptions.
- Gain experience through employment.
You are eligible to apply for nursing jobs once you have obtained your nursing license. To gather experience, the majority of public health nurses begin their careers in other nursing positions. Before entering the field of public health, you might first need to satisfy certain requirements, such as gaining relevant work experience and earning certain qualifications.
On your CV, you should make sure to highlight both your academic accomplishments and your professional experience. In addition to this, you should modify both your resume and cover letter so that they reflect the position and firm for which you are applying.
- Obtain the necessary credentials (s)
Earning a professional certification in your industry not only gives you a more specialized education but also makes you more marketable to potential employers. In the field of public health, certification may also be required by some employers.
The American Nurse Credentialing Center provides the following credentials to those who meet the requirements:
National Healthcare Emergency Preparedness Certification for Certified Public Health (CPH) (NHDP-BC)
There is no longer an opportunity to become certified as an Advanced Public Health Nurse with Board Certification (APHN-BC). However, existing holders can get it renewed.
- Consider advanced degrees
As a public health nurse, you can considerably improve your professional standing by earning a master’s or doctoral degree in nursing with a concentration in public health.
You will be able to attain administrative jobs, a higher salary, and new abilities that you can apply to your efforts to improve the health of the community if you achieve more advanced education.
A final thought on How to become a public health Nurse
The profession of public health nursing is always evolving and seeing new developments. When it comes to educating the general public and assisting in the resolution of potential problems, these nurses hold the power to bring about significant change.
They are at the vanguard of many pandemics taking place all over the world, and more than ever before, they are of the utmost importance to the nursing profession.
FAQs about How to become a public health Nurse
A career in public health nursing can be ideal for you if you take pleasure in resolving complex issues, are skilled at working with others, and appreciate taking a systems-based approach.
You can assist communities and populations in improving their health if you are a public health registered nurse (RN). In this role, you will focus as much or more on the health of groups than you will on the health of individual patients.
The following is a list of the questions that most people have while thinking about a career in public health nursing.
- Is Nursing in Public Health a Rewarding Profession?
Becoming a public health registered nurse (RN) can be an excellent career choice for those who are interested in making a difference in their community while also working on significant issues such as expanding people’s access to medical care, assisting those in society who are at the greatest risk of deteriorating health, and improving their health.
- Would You Say That This Is the Right Time to Become a Public Health Nurse?
Because of the growing need caused by the global health pandemic, the opioid crisis (which is very much on the minds of public health officials), and the growing understanding of social determinants of health and the value of prevention, now is one of the best times to become a public health RN.
This is one of the reasons why the current time is one of the best times to become a public health RN.
- What Exactly Is a Dual Degree MSN/MPH?
A combined Master of Science in Nursing and Master of Public Health degree integrates the fields of nursing and public health, which are closely related.
The combined Master of Science in Nursing and Master of Public Health degree is ideal preparation for these professions, particularly if you are interested in a leadership role and want to deepen your experience in both of these subjects.
However, because it is a dual degree and encompasses two distinct fields of study, it is even more difficult than either program taken on its own.
This is especially true when because many people might find one field or the other to be more difficult.
- Is Earning a Certification Necessary to Work in the Field of Public Health Nursing?
Certification is not required by law to work as a registered nurse in public health; the only legal requirement is to hold a nursing license that is current and unencumbered.
However, many employers require certification or strongly prefer certification, particularly for higher-level positions. Certification reflects not just your understanding of public health nursing but also your dedication to the field.
- What are the key distinctions between registered nurses and public health nurses?
A registered nurse (RN) who has completed additional coursework in public health care and emergency response is known as a public health nurse.
Public health nurses, like registered nurses, are required by the state to maintain a certain level of continuing education to keep their nursing license.
- What kind of compensation would one typically expect to make working in public health?
The annual pay of a public health nurse is estimated to be $69,249 on average across the nation. The annual rate of overtime pay is anticipated to be $11,250. The following are the five cities that pay the most:
- The District of Columbia
- Albany, NY
- Atlanta, GA
- San Francisco, CA
- New York – Bronx