Public health nurses work within communities to provide health education and care for entire populations. They may work for government or private agencies, and they may be found in schools, clinics, rural and low-income communities, retirement communities, and other settings. Public health nurses focus on improving the health and safety of the community as a whole.
Public health nurses may set up immunizations, screenings, and disease prevention campaigns. They also provide health care and education to anyone who needs it, including the disadvantaged and at-risk members. They act as advocates for the community members to government authorities, with the goal of improving access to health services. Public health nurses also work to pinpoint health issues that may be unique to their community, and they prioritize these issues in their efforts to intervene.
The public health nurse works with people of all ages, races, and backgrounds. Realizing that people who are ill often avoid seeking help, public health nurses move proactively through the community and make health care accessible and non-intimidating. They focus a great deal of effort on preventative care, offering reliable information to community members about how to protect their health through proper nutrition, safety, hygiene, and more. They may speak publicly at schools, senior centers, or other community facilities.
The job of a public health nurse is full of variety. A public health nurse may offer pre- and post-natal care as well as provide immunizations and checkups for well babies. Within the same day, the nurse may counsel elderly patients about how to remain healthy.
Public health nurses should enjoy working with people, be able to work autonomously, and be empathetic and caring. They should also be capable decision-makers, able to respond to potential health crises.
In order to become a public health nurse, you must be licensed as a registered nurse. Public health nurses make an average of $51,000 per year.