Public health nurses take on a unique role in the medical field. Rather than working with patients, public health nurses opt to educate and provide screening to prevent and study diseases.
Public health nurses work with the community to promote health through education and research. In this role, you could complete tasks such as offering classes on health-related topics, taking part in campaigns to promote diet and exercise, teaching holistic health, and more. You could also work in a clinic to provide health screenings, offer advice to individuals hopping to prevent disease, immunize children, and otherwise encourage people to live a healthy lifestyle. Additionally, some public health nurses assess risk, helping to prevent injuries by making an environment safer. Nurses working in public health also have the option of going into research, where you’ll work to study population.
Salary and Career Options
Public health nurses earn an average of $53,207 annually, according to reports by Payscale.com. You can earn more in this field by becoming an advanced practice nurse. If you choose this option, you’ll typically want to take the clinical nurse specialist route, which allows you to receive education in not just clinical work (as is the case with nurse practitioners), but also consulting, research, education, and administration.
In other to start working as a public health nurse as quickly as possible, consider becoming an LPN, which takes less than a year in many cases. If you want to open more job doors and make more money, however, going back to school to get certified as an RN or advanced practice nurse makes sense. Although not mandatory, you can seek certification in this field from the American Public Health Association after you become a licensed nurse and gain experience in public health.