What is Public Health Nursing?

When determining what specialty of nursing students wish to enter into, they often wonder about what public health nursing is. This is a specialty of nursing that includes just about every type of medicine as well as the additional element of immunizations, patient education, and community health in an office setting that typically provides low and no-cost healthcare to low-income families and individuals. In order to become a qualified, public health nurse, the only requirement is a current RN, although there are some master’s programs available with the core course of study in public health and community nursing.

Patient Care Fundamentals

The patient care aspect of what public health nursing involves is providing quality healthcare to those who cannot typically afford going to a doctor. The types of patient care that are provided in the Public Health Office include: family planning, infant and child checkups, preventive medicine, and in some offices, dentistry. Nurses in the public health field must be experienced in the basic, general medicine aspect of nursing since this type of nursing revolves around all types of medicine, from pregnancy all the way up to geriatric care.

Public Health and Safety

Public health and the safety of the community are the two reasons why the Public Health Division of medicine was introduced. When looking at what public health nursing is, you must realize that the main goal of this type of specialty is to prevent the spread of various diseases which, left untreated or not immunized against, could result in the death of the patient as well as an outbreak of the disease in the population of the community. The Public Health Department has the task of immunizing those patients who require it at a reduced rate as well as providing confidential testing for patients. The infection testing remains confidential; however, all positive results are reported to the next highest agency, typically the State’s Surgeon General. When the Surgeon General’s Office receives a certain amount of positive results for one disease in a small area, they will declare an outbreak in which case those who are at risk need to go to the Public Health Clinic to get any offered immunizations. Additionally, STD’s are routinely tested for as well. When a patient comes in and requests a test done to check them for an STD, the nurse must maintain the highest confidentiality standards while performing the tests. While awaiting the results, the nurse will educate the patient and give him or her options to prevent the situation from happening in the future. In the event of a positive test, the nurse will provide the patient with treatment options.

What is public health nursing? It is the specialty of nursing that has the purpose of keeping the entire community healthy, even if the patient does not have the money or health insurance to pay for a doctor. This is a very important position in the nursing field where the nurses can enjoy all of the benefits of working as a nurse as well as the top salary and benefits that come with a government-sector career.