Public Health Nursing

The Career Path for a Public Health Nurse

Public health nurses care for entire populations rather than one patient at a time. Public health nurses (sometimes called community health nurses) work within the community to improve the overall health of the area. They put together plans that alleviate or eliminate health or safety issues, and they may help communities prepare for natural disasters or assist in disaster relief efforts. They communicate with health planners and policy makers to help members of the community voice their concerns and provide community education on health and wellness, disease prevention, nutrition and childcare. In low-income and rural communities, public health nurses also provide critical services such as immunizations, prenatal care and health counseling for youth and the elderly.

Preparation Path

  • GET YOUR ASN OR BSN
  • PASS YOUR NCLEX AND BECOME AN RN
  • GET EXPERIENCE IN A PUBLIC HEALTH SETTING

$50,000 - $60,000

Annual Salary Range

Typical Tasks

  • Monitoring health trends and identifying risk factors unique to specific communities
  • Acting as an advocate with policymakers
  • Working with youth in the community
  • Providing basic direct care such as immunizations and screenings

Education Requirements

BSN primarily (though some communities employ ASNs)

Employment Settings

  • County or state departments of health
  • Correctional facilities
  • Clinics
  • Occupational health facilities
  • Businesses
  • Schools
  • Government and private agencies

Certification

RN