While the majority of nurses take care of patients one by one, those who choose to work in public health work toward the good health of populations of people. They do this by educating people in communities about improving community health and safety, dealing with health issues, and getting access to healthcare.
Job Duties of a Public Health Nurse
As part of the job description, public health nurses identify the particular health risks of a specific community and identify risk factors that may be prevalent. In addition, they serve as advocates with various levels of government to ensure that underserved populations have adequate access to health services. Across the country, public health nurses also design and implement campaigns to raise the level of health education and to prevent diseases. This may include organizing clinics for health screenings and immunizations.
Other duties of a public health nurse include telling people about local services and programs related to health care and to educate people about healthier lifestyles. As a public health nurse, you will have to operate under the belief that many factors influence a person’s health. These factors include lifestyle, environment, and genetic predisposition. While regular nurses wait in hospitals and healthcare facilities for patients to come in, public health nurses go to the people and promote preventative care and other services that will prevent or reduce the need for treatment.
The main focus of a public health nurse is that of health education. These nurses provide community members with useful, reliable information about how to improve and safeguard their health. This may include giving presentations at community groups, schools, senior citizen centers, and other local organizations. In addition, public health nurses demonstrate ways to maintain health and teach about proper nutrition. They often also teach family members how to care for people with disabilities or diseases so people can have more control over their family’s well-being.
When working in rural and/or low-income areas, public health nurses often immunize schoolchildren, teach elderly citizens how to stay healthy and safe, and provide well-baby and prenatal care. In addition, they must constantly watch out for and be ready to respond to community health crises.
If you have been looking for a nursing career that will allow you to provide services and education to the public at large, the career of public health nurse has everything you need.