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Public Health Nurse

Public health nurses serve the public on a clinical and education basis by speaking to communities and individuals about various health topics. Done as a group or alone, public health nurses target whole populations and groups to discuss prevention of disease, injury and disability, as well as promote health awareness and management. Much of their focus is aimed at health assessment, assurance and policy development. Essentially, they go to health planners and policy makers to express the concern of communities and vulnerable individuals who suffer from health problems and need assistance. Public health nurses may assist members of communities to voice their opinions and make their health conditions known to the policy makers in hopes for change and medical assistance.

Public health nurses must be currently licensed registered nurses (RN) who have passed the NCLEX-RN licensing examination. While there are some certification opportunities in select states, most RNs can practice public health nursing without being certified. For nurses who want to obtain certification in public health nursing, the American Nurses Credentialing Center does offer an advanced certification for nurses who have either completed any graduate degree in public or community health nursing or another field or nurses who have completed a master’s degree in public health. Additional eligibility requirements apply, such as supervised clinical hours and practice within the specialty.

According to PayScale, certified public health nurses make an average salary of $51,000 per year. Public health nurses’ salaries can vary based on education level, experience and location of work. In addition, there are many benefits of working in public health nursing, such as quick entry into the field, optional certification and numerous opportunities to serve public health needs. Public health nurses are actively engaged in their communities and strive to improve their community members’ health and keep them informed.