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Can I Become A Nurse With A Public Health Degree

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Public Health Nurse Certification

What is a Community/ Public Health Nurse?

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Public health nursing is a unique and challenging specialty. Public health nurses don’t just report to work and take care of an assigned number of patients they work with members of a community to promote wellness and preventive care. A large part of their daily duties is education, so public health nurses must be skilled in assessing learning needs and the community’s willingness to comply with health-related recommendations.

The American Nurses Credentialing Center

Certificate Name: National Healthcare Disaster Professional Certification

Credential Awarded: NHDP-BC

Cost: $395, and $270 for American Nurses Association members

Certification Requirements & Eligibility

Requirements for this certification include:

  • Have a minimum of 3 years disaster experience in the last 10 years in one or more of the following roles: RN, physician, APRN, PA, pharmacist, paramedic/EMT, behavioral health provider, emergency management professional, respiratory therapist, or public health professional
  • Have documented participation in a disaster
  • Completed one of the following disaster exercises: full-scale, functional, table-top
  • Have completed a certificate of completion in specified FEMA emergency management courses

Social And Community Service Managers

Social and Community Service Managers organize and supervise community and social service and health programs. In their supervisory capacity, Social and Community Service Managers recruit and train new staff members, and supervise staff and others who provide direct service to clients. They are also called upon to write funding proposals and prepare reports to provide evidence of justification for continued sponsorship of their programs. Social and Community Service Managers may work for government agencies, but most often are employed by non-profit organizations. Their work may involve a general demographic or be focused on a particular group such as children, seniors, the homeless, veterans or the handicapped.

Education requirements

A bachelor’s degree in social work, public administration or related field is normally the minimal requirement for employment as a Social or Community Service Manager. Some employers, especially larger governmental agencies or non-profit organizations, may require an MBA or master’s degree in a public health or services-related field.

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Is Nursing School Difficult

Succeeding in a nursing program takes effort and a great deal of determination. If you’re already practicing in the field as an RN or working in another career, you may consider attending an online nursing school that can offer you greater flexibility than you might get on a traditional college campus.

Taking online courses that operate on short term lengths with weekly requirements can allow you to advance your nursing career on your schedule, and there are many time management strategies you can practice to keep yourself on track.

If youve ever considered the field of nursing, the current nursing shortage indicates that now is the time to change that consideration into a solid to-do. A lot of factors, from a changing healthcare system to aging Baby Boomers and many Registered Nurses nearing retirement, are contributing to a critical shortage for nurses in the U.S., according to the American Nursing Association .

The shortage means RNs are projected to see employment growth of 9% by 2030, faster than the average for all occupations, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports.

Types Of Public Health Nurses

13 Reasons to Pursue a Career as a Family Nurse Practitioner

The type of public health nurse you become will probably depend on where you work. Its about 50/50 in terms of public health nurses who focus on one specialty and those who are generalists, Plagenhoef says.

She says that working in a small health department, community organization, or nonprofit will likely mean youll need to wear many hats. On any given day, you may do outreach work to prevent the spread of communicable diseases, help people sign up for social supports such as food stamps, and provide a patient with lactation support.

In other instancesparticularly in larger organizationspublic health nurses may specialize. Public health touches on many, many areas, including diabetes, reproductive health, maternal health, tuberculosis control, HIV/AIDS prevention, and others. In these cases, you may be able to find a specialized position where you can focus on your passion.

In some cases, public health nurses may specialize in areas such as diabetes, reproductive health, maternal health, tuberculosis control, and others.

Some public health nurses focus on a particular type of care. Some work almost exclusively by visiting patients in their homes, for example, and others may spend most of their time providing direct patient care in a clinic.

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The 8 Principles Of Public Health Nursing

The Quad Council of Public Health Nursing Organizations developed the following eight tenets of public health nursing to advance the public health nursing goal of promoting and protecting the health of the population.

  • Population-based assessment, policy development, and assurance processes are systematic and comprehensive.
  • All processes must include partnering with representatives of the people.
  • Primary prevention is given priority.
  • Intervention strategies are selected to create healthy environmental, social, and economic conditions in which people can thrive.
  • Public health nursing practice includes an obligation to actively reach out to all who might benefit from an intervention or service.
  • The dominant concern and obligation is for the greater good of all of the people or the population as a whole.
  • Stewardship and allocation of available resources support the maximum population health benefit gain.
  • The health of the people is most effectively promoted and protected through collaboration with members of other professions and organizations.
  • Is Certification Required To Work As A Public Health Nurse

    Certification is not legally required to become a public health RN — the only legal requirement is a valid and unencumbered nursing license — but many employers require or strongly prefer certification, especially for higher-level positions. Certification demonstrates both your knowledge of and commitment to public health nursing.

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    Nurse Managers Nurse Executives And Nurse Educators

    As you develop more skills, experience, and education the nursing career pathway of advancement can diverge, with one road going towards more technical practitioner expertise and the other towards more of a management and professional route.

    This latter branch is where professionals like nurse managers, nurse executives, and nurse educators come into focus. These are careers that are less the purview of a State Board of Nursing than they are of professional-class standards. While there are no requisite exams to pass, the job market for professional-class nurses is as competitive as it is lucrative.

    Business support services and the federal executive branch are the top-two industries for offering the highest average salary to nurses in the nation according to the US Department of Labor, at $92,200 and $90,340 per year, respectively.

    Universities realize how important it is for professional nurses to have an edge over their competition, which is why they offer specialized bachelors, masters, and doctoral programs catering to nurse managers, nurse executives, and other professional-class nurses.

    Six What Are The Continuing Education Requirements For A Public Health Nurse


    Public Health nurses have the same continuing education requirements as other RNs. This will vary on a state by state basis. There are no specific CEU requirements for public health nurses unless they have obtained advanced certification.

    Generally, in order for an individual to renew their RN license, they will need to fill out an application, complete a specific number of CEU hours, and pay a nominal fee. Each state has specific requirements and it is important to check with the board of nursing prior to applying for license renewal.

    A detailed look at Continuing Nurse Education hours can be found here.

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    Nursing Vs Public Health: Which Career Is Right For You

    The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted nearly every aspect of our lives. From our economy and politics to the day-to-day routine of working from home, everything has changed. The healthcare industry was, perhaps, the industry most affected. However, if the global pandemic has taught us anything, it is the utter importance of healthcare and our healthcare heroes.

    Whether you have been always imagined yourself working in a health-related field, or you have recently been inspired to change careers, you may be ready to take a next step. But with so many paths available, you may be unsure which career is best for you. Nursing and public health are two fields that share many common threads. Both are designed for those who want to make a positive difference in the world and help others in need. Both fields also require compassion, dedication, and care for others.

    Which career path is right for you? Read on as we weigh the benefits, the outcomes, and the key differences of nursing vs. public health.

    Most Common Colleges For Public Health Nurse

    Here are the most common colleges for a Public Health Nurse career in the US based on their resumes. Advocates often get their degree in New York University, University of Phoenix, and California State University – San Bernardino .

    New York University

    California State University – San Bernardino

    Walden University

    Public Health Nurse Common College Percentages
    California State University – San Bernardino 9.00%

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    Complete A Nursing Program

    Public health nurses must complete a nursing program. At a minimum, public health nurses will need to complete an associates degree, although employers increasingly require candidates to complete at least a bachelors.

    Nursing school is highly competitive, and admissions committees are looking for applicants who have completed prerequisite coursework and have demonstrated an aptitude for science and math.

    How To Become A Licensed Practical Nurse

    MPH, Public Health Masters Admission

    Licensed practical nurses are often defined in contrast to registered nurses as carrying out nursing duties that require less skill. As a result LPNs often work in skilled nursing facilities and other locations that require general care, as opposed to the more specialized care you might find in an ICU or specialized hospital.

    If you plan to work while you study, starting out as an LPN is a great way to get your foot in the door.

    LPNs need less education than RNs, such as completion of a one-year certificate program at a community college or vocational school. As with all levels of nursing education, the school where you complete your LPN education must be approved by your states Board of Nursing.

    Once youve fulfilled your states LPN education requirements you can apply to take the National Council Licensure Examination for LPNs, the NCLEX-PN. This exam is developed and administered by the National Council of State Boards of Nursing .

    The NCLEX-PN takes up to four hours to complete, is offered on a computer, is mostly multiple-choice, and ranges from 60 to 130 items.

    Once you pass the NCLEX-PN you can receive your LPN license from your states Board of Nursing. This agency will often maintain an online database of licensed LPNs, and once you have your license you can officially launch into your first nursing position.

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    The Path To Becoming A Public Health Nurse

    Future public health nurses must complete certain educational requirements to enter the field. They should earn a bachelors degree in nursing from an accredited university. They should also gain experience providing care in community health settings such as with a clinic, school, hospital or nonprofit organization. Those interested in building an advanced career should consider a masters degree in public health, where they can gain the leadership skills they need to be community advocates with clinical expertise.

    Beyond educational requirements, public health nurses must be licensed as registered nurses. Nurses with masters degrees can also pursue additional certifications, such as a certification in public health .

    Studying for these degree programs and certifications can provide public health nurses with the skills they need for success, including the following:

    University of Nevada, Renos online Master of Public Health program can help individuals gain these skills, along with the knowledge and educational background needed to excel in a public health nurse role. Students take courses in subjects such as public health policy, health informatics, epidemiology, and social and behavioral health, preparing them to enter various public health settings.

    S To Pursuing Public Health Degrees & Careers

    Though the requirements for a public health career might vary depending upon the profession, a certain amount of education will be needed or recommended. Here are the steps to making a public health career a reality.

    Discover your career fit

    With Lantern’s Career Quiz, you can be matched to career options that align with your personal characteristics. Take the free Career Quiz

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    What Does A Public Health Nurse Do

    Public health nurses play key roles in preventing disease while promoting public safety and well-being. They promote better health and safety in communities and help prepare them for and recover from public health incidents, such as natural disasters and disease outbreaks.

    Most public health nurses serve specific roles while helping their communities:

    Preparing For Nurse Leadership Roles In Public Health


    The skills and knowledge required of a public health nurse practitioner are extensive and varied. However, with advanced training and dedication in the field, aspiring public health nurse practitioners can play leading roles in everything from responding to public health crises to developing intervention programs that address avoidable chronic illnesses.

    Advanced degrees in nursing can prepare public health nurse practitioners by educating them in core areas relevant to their work. Programs engage students in a comprehensive study of population health management, primary care, research, and advanced health assessment. They also provide students with the opportunity for practical application of classroom material under the guidance of skilled experts.

    Inspired to tackle health issues and ensure even the most vulnerable communities have access to quality healthcare and services? Explore how AdventHealth University Onlines Master of Science in Nursing degree prepares nursing leaders to improve the health of communities and respond to the nations greatest health challenges.

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    One: Earn A Bachelor Of Science In Nursing

    All public health nurse practitioners must be registered nurses . A first step to becoming an RN is completing a Bachelor of Science in Nursing program that is accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing or the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education .

    BSN degrees offer critical knowledge in anatomy, physiology, and biology. Their curriculums cover topics needed for clinical work such as health assessment and emergency care. Additionally, students learn about public health issues and cultivate the important critical-thinking and communication skills that public health nurse practitioners use on a daily basis. RNs who hold an Associate of Science in Nursing can pursue RN-to-BSN programs to obtain the needed degree.

    Masters Degree In Public Health

    For those who want the best career options within the field, a masters degree is strongly recommended. There are several masters degrees available in public health, but the Master of Public Health is the most common and takes about two years to complete. The MPH degree will not only provide additional knowledge and training on public health topics, it may also help prepare graduates for leadership and management roles within a public health organization or program. Some of the courses included in some MPH programs are listed below:

    Public Health Biology

    Students will learn about the biological and physiological processes that explain how diseases cause illness, are spread and can be treated.

    Skills Learned:

      Understanding the environments role in human health and behavior Familiarity with various chemical and biological factors that affect human health Understanding how the physical environment and disease propagation are interrelated

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    Job Description & Information

    • Essential Skills Needed – Psychological and emotional strength and stability, patience, strong assessment skills, excellent critical thinking abilities, well-honed interpersonal communication skills, ability to work independently, leadership qualities, compassion, empathy
    • Job Outlook – The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts overall employment for registered nurses to increase by 16% between 2014 and 2024. Individuals in the public health nursing specialty can expect to see their field grow at a rate that’s comparable

    Public Health Nurse Salary By Years Of Experience

    How to progress your career as a care home nurse reports an annual salary of $59,655 per year or $29.26 per hour. They add that public health nurses can earn a higher annual salary with increased years of experience.

    • Less than one year of experience earns an average hourly wage of $25.36
    • 1-4 years of experience earns an average hourly wage of $27.66
    • 5-9 years of experience earns an average hourly wage of $30.60
    • 10-19 years of experience earns an average hourly wage of $31.76

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    Education To Become A Community Nurse

    While some community nurses have an associate degree, many employers require a bachelors degree. In general, the larger the community and organization in which you work, the more education youll need. You are more likely to get a job with an associate degree in a more rural setting.

    Edwards says that getting a bachelors degree can help you get higher-paying jobs. Work to the highest-level degree you can in the field, she says. That is how you will become a leader. You wont get rich, and you may get frustrated by the lack of resources, but that is the real way to make a difference.

    Eventually, she says, going for a doctorate and teaching at the university level could afford you the best of both worlds. A PhD could allow you to keep the regular hours of a teacher while still participating in community health through the hands-on programs your students take part in.

    National Board Of Public Health Examiners

    Certificate Name: Certified in Public Health

    Credential Awarded: CPH

    Cost: $385. A full listing of eligible discounts can be found here

    Certification Requirements & Eligibility

    Applicants must meet one of the following requirements:

    • Be enrolled as a student in a Council on Education for Public Health -accredited school
    • Alumni of a school or public health program accredited by CEPH
    • Have public health work experience as well as:
    • At least a bachelor’s degree and five years’ work experience in public health, or
    • A graduate-level degree in a related field and at least three years’ public health work experience
    • A certificate from a public health program or school that is accredited by CEPH, as well as three years’ public health work experience

    For more information, the NBPHE has a detailed applicant handbook.

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