Registered nurses provide patient care and also coordinate that care with other medical professionals. They also educate the public and patients about many different health conditions and problems.
More nurses are beginning to specialize in public health nursing, and are therefore getting their master’s in public health. Public health nurses devise public health strategies that are aimed to help entire populations, families and single people. The main aim of a public health nurse is to prevent illness, and promote healthy life choices and general health for the local population. They strive to articulate both the health and illness experiences of vulnerable groups to both policy makers and planners of health initiatives for the community. Nurses with a master’s in public health in this field also know a great deal about strategies to intervene in unhealthy environments and to improve them into healthy ones.
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Other typical duties of registered nurses both in public health and in the traditional workplace include:
- Recording the medical histories and symptoms of patients in the community
- Provide treatment and medications to patients in the community
- Organize plans of health for patients and help to execute current plans
- Consult with doctors and other medical professionals to gauge success of treatments and public health programs
- Teach patients and people in the community how to better manage illnesses and prevent them from occurring
More registered nurses are becoming involved in public health, as there is more emphasis by health insurance companies and governments to reduce health care costs. These nurses with a master’s degree in public health will work to better educate the general public on some of the warning signs and contributions to serious disease. Public health nurses may also organize health screenings, blood drives and immunization workshops.
Public Health Nurses Career & Salary Outlook
The employment for nurses is expected to increase by 26% from 2010-20, which is faster than average compared to other occupations. It is thought that growth will occur due to advances in technology, which is allowing more health problems to get treatment. Also, the baby boomer population is getting older and more of them are needing added health care services. They also are living longer than previous generations. There also should be quicker growth in hospitals and also in other medical facilities.
Growth is being seen for nurses in public health because of the emphasis on preventive care to save money for both governments and health insurance companies.
The median salary for all nurses was $64,300 in 2010. The top 10%, usually with master’s degrees, such as in public health, earned over $95,000.
Remember that many nurses work in health care facilities that require a 24 hour schedule, so many nurses typically work 12 hour shifts.
Job Outlook for Public Health Nurses
Job opportunities will be excellent for both regular nurses and nurses in public health in the near future. Many employers have difficulty finding enough nurses for the positions available. The job turn over in many hospitals is high, so you should be able to find a good nursing job with a master’s degree in public health. Many medical facilities offer substantial signing bonuses, paid training and work schedules that are very family friendly.
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Public Health Nurse Education and Training
A registered nurse will usually have a bachelor’s of science in nursing, and working in public health will necessitate a master’s degree in public health. You will need to complete classes in anatomy, physiology, microbiology, chemistry, nutrition and psychology, among others.