Educate the World: Using a Degree in Nursing to Increase Public Awareness
Nursing is an honorable, well-respected profession. No matter what specific type of nurse you are, you help others in some manner. There are four levels of nursing degrees: Associate’s, Bachelor’s, Master’s, and Certificate/Diploma. Nurses can choose to specialize in certain subject areas depending on their degree. For example, if a nurse is pursuing a Bachelor’s degree they can choose from subjects such as Gerontology, Psychology, Public Health and Health Care Administration. Sometimes people wish to use their nursing degree to increase public awareness. Community and public health nurses care for entire communities.
Public Health Nurse
Public health nurses focus on the well-being of communities that they serve. They are RN’s (registered nurses) with special training in the area of community health. They treat patients, but they also educate the community on health issues and create intervention plans to correct or prevent health and safety concerns. Specialized training is required to become a public health nurse, but the job outlook is excellent and the salary is higher than an average RN. According to Explore Health Careers in 2011, a public health nurse will earn between $51,000 and $55,000 per year. Required education is between four and six years in order to become a public health nurse. According to Kaleidoscope of Nursing, to become a public health nurse you must: be an RN licensed in the United States, have at least a bachelor’s degree or higher in a related field, have at least 30 contact hours of continuing education in the past three years that is applicable to the field, and practiced community health in the field for at least 1,500 hours in the past three years. The primary focus of a public health nurse is to make health information easy for everyone to understand. They try to help people in a community to improve their health and prevent disease through education and services. You can also choose to pursue a Master of Science with an Advanced Public Health Nurse Specialization. An online nursing program is available for this type of degree, as well as at various colleges and universities.
Public Health Nurse Duties
According to a survey given to 1,600 nurses in eight different countries, 95% of the surveyed nurses desire to use knowledge and skills to educate people about the threat and prevention of non-communicable diseases such as cancer. Public health nurses provide a wide variety of services to a community. The nurses track health trends in the community and look for health risk factors. They provide the greatest benefit to the most people according to determined priorities for health-related interventions. Underserved communities need public health nurses to advocate for the improvement of health services for them. The nurses work with local, state and federal levels. Health education campaigns are created and carried out by public health nurses. The nurses organize disease prevention activities such as immunizations and screenings. Public health nurses can work with at risk populations, educating and providing health care services to them. The nurses help the community with preparing for disasters and response to disasters. They also investigate outbreaks of communicable diseases.
Uniting a love of faith and nursing is the premise of a nursing career as a parish nurse. Part of the nursing occupation of parish nurse is to increase public awareness in your faith community. According to Kaleidoscope of Nursing, “parish nursing holds that all persons are sacred and must be treated with respect and dignity.” Health education, counseling, personal health, assessing your faith community’s needs and providing a referral service are some of the duties of a parish nurse. Parish nurses focus on the entire person including spiritual and emotional parts as well as physical. They promote good health and disease prevention. Nursing jobs as parish nurses are available for all denominations and exist in rural, suburban and urban settings throughout the United States and internationally. The parish nurse is part of a team including the pastoral staff and congregation members. They work together to make the congregation better as a whole.
Parish Nurse Requirements
To be considered for a nursing career as a parish nurse, you must first be an RN. At the very least you should have a BSN (Bachelors of Science in nursing), or preferably a master’s degree. It is possible to be hired by a congregation with only a BSN, but most congregations seek an RN with a master’s degree and a specialty of community health nursing, mental health nursing or holistic nursing. At least three to five years of nursing experience is preferred, and a background in community health. You must also have “evidence of mature faith.”
Community Health Nurse
Community Health Nursing is the umbrella which encompasses public health nurses, parish nurses and other similar types of nurses. The duties of community health nurses are similar to those of public health nurses. They also educate people on good health care practice and the prevention of diseases. They can work with people who cannot afford health insurance. Public health nurses tend to work with the government, while community health nurses tend to work with local agencies. In order to become a community health nurse, typically you must be an RN with a BSN and experience working in public health. A community health nurse is a clinician, educator, advocate, leader, researcher, manager and collaborator. A community health care nurse has many different roles to play, and must be competent in all. It is important to have good observation, communication, counseling, listening and physical care skills.
There are other ways to help educate the world for nurses besides pursuing a nursing career as a public health nurse, community health nurse or a parish nurse. Many countries in the world suffer from a lack of quality health care. Nurses are uniquely qualified to help people in other countries who are suffering. Missions exist that seek nurses and other professionals to join them in helping educate and administer services to people in impoverished countries. Educating in this manner may cost you money instead of earn you money, but the benefits of selfless acts such as helping people in need are great. There are missions that are free for both the medical volunteers and the mission organizations. Be certain to thoroughly research missions before deciding to become involved with one so that you know exactly what will be asked of you.
There are a variety of ways that nurses can use their knowledge and skills to help educate the world and increase public awareness. Community health is the general area of interest for these types of jobs. Typically you need to be an RN with a BSN and some experience in the community or public health fields. Usually mission work is less restrictive in terms of education and experience. To obtain and utilize a nursing degree of any kind is a positive and rewarding experience for both you and those you help. It is well worth the effort to pursue a nursing career of any type. If tuition costs are a problem for you, research scholarships to help pay for your education. The world is in dire need of nurses so scholarships exist to help people afford to pursue these vital career opportunities.