Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Choosing a Career As a Public Health Nurse

If you enjoy assisting others with their healthcare concerns and being a teacher at the same time public health nursing may be for you. Public health nurses specialize in treating and preventing ailments. Many work for local clinics and community health centers. They also spend a great amount of time traveling and educating individuals on health care issues. Many also travel to make home visits to seniors who are unable to leave their homes to go to doctor's appointments or to visit new mothers to ensure that their newborn babies are developing properly. Being a public health nurse will allow you to use a variety of skills in a variety of different settings.

One of the main responsibilities and goals of a public health nurse is the focus on prevention. In clinical settings such as hospitals the goal is to treat a condition and cure the condition if possible. Public health nurses do treat ailments, but their main objective is to prevent diseases and complications from occurring. Many work in organizations such as Planned Parenthood to prevent the spread of sexually transmitted infections through community outreach programs directed towards schools and high-risk populations. Some also participate on councils and assist in research projects to offer data and suggestions on improving access to healthcare for specific populations and communities with the goal of increasing awareness and improving the health and lifestyles of individuals in order to prevent the onset of disease and conditions.

The majority of public health nurses work for the local government, although many can be found working in clinics, schools, community centers and other establishments. Unlike nurses who work in hospitals,  you could expect to work pretty conventional hours. In addition, many enjoy the flexibility to travel and the pace is typically different from the pace of a hospital. Salaries for nurses in this field tend to be a bit lower than nurses in a clinical setting. However, those nurses who choose public health nursing find that there are other benefits such as government job perks or a conventional schedule that make up for the difference in clinical nursing salary. Furthermore, most professionals in this field do possess a bachelor's degree in nursing and at least a year or two of clinical nursing experience. Having these requirements provides a base upon which a public health nurse can utilize skills already applied in a clinical setting from previous employment and experience.

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