Although most nurses care for one patient at a time, public health nurses care for entire populations. They educate people about health issues, improve community health and safety, and increase access to care.
Public health nurses do not wait for patients to go to the hospital with an illness, they go into communities and try to help people improve their health and prevent disease. For those who do not have access to care, public health nurses may also provide direct health care services, including preventive care, screening services, and health education.
In low income areas of rural communities, public health nurses also provide critical care services. They immunize school children, provide pre-natal and well-baby care, and teach the elderly how to stay safe and healthy at home. They must also be able to recognize and respond to potential health crises.
The University of Vermont offers online Certificate of Graduate Study in Public Health and Epidemiology and Masters in Public Health Degree programs.
Salary Range: $40,000 – $69,000
Salary Notes: The average salary in Vermont is $53,000; salaries vary depending on where you work.
Where you can study:
Berkshire Community College, Pittsfield, MA
Castleton University Nursing Department, Castleton, VT
Central Maine Community College, Auburn, ME
Community College of Rhode Island, Warwick, RI
Great Bay Community College, Portsmouth/Rochester, NH
Holyoke Community College, Holyoke, MA
Kennebec Valley Community College, Fairfield, ME
Laboure College, Boston, MA
Massachusetts Bay Community College, Wellesley, MA
Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences, Boston, Boston, MA
Middlesex Community College, Bedford, Bedford, MA
New England Institute of Technology, East Greenwich, RI
Northern Essex Community College, Haverhill, MA
Norwich University, Northfield, VT
Quinnipiac University, Hamden, CT
Rhode Island College, Providence, RI
River Valley Community College, Claremont, NH
Salem State University, Salem, MA
Simmons College, Boston, MA
Southern Connecticut State University, New Haven, CT
Southern New Hampshire University, Manchester, NH
The Russell Sage Colleges, Albany & Troy, NY
University of Vermont College of Nursing and Health Sciences, Burlington, VT
White Mountains Community College, Berlin, NH
Where you might work:
– Community Health Centers – Government Agencies – Non-profit Organizations – Schools
Job Outlook: As in all areas of nursing, there is an increasing demand for public health nurses, particularly in medically underserved and low income communities as well as with government agencies.
Education, Licensing and Certification: High school coursework should have a strong emphasis on math, English and science. In order to take the Vermont licensing exam, candidates must successfully complete either an ADN (Associate Degree in Nursing) or BSN (Bachelor of Science in Nursing) program. Both levels of education, with a license, permit a registered nurse to work in an entry level position. Advanced degrees in this field include a master’s in public health.
American Nurses Association 800-274-4262
American Public Health Association 202-777-2742
American Association of Colleges of Nursing 202-463-6930
Association of Public Health Nurses 614-846-1777