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What is a Public Health Nurse?

Many individuals may not be aware of the difference between a registered nurse and a public health nurse. The simplest explanation is that, while most nurses are responsible for caring for only one patient at a time, a public health nurse is tasked with caring for an entire community or population. Public health nurses are primarily responsible for educating members of their community about common health issues and improving the overall safety and health of individuals in a certain area. They are also vital when it comes to increasing people's access to high-quality health care.

Public health nurses identify risk factors for specific communities by monitoring health trends. They also set priorities for intervention programs in order to provide the greatest benefit to the maximum number of people. Public health nurses act as advocates for underserved members of the community when it comes to dealing with authorities in the local, state and federal levels. They may also be responsible for designing and implementing education campaigns and activities designed to prevent the spread of diseases. These campaigns can include everything from screenings to immunizations. They are also responsible for keeping the public informed about the health care programs that are locally available.

Because educating and providing healthcare services to some of the most at risk and vulnerable members of the population are some of the primary responsibilities of a public health nurse, it is a position that requires a special type of individual. These nurses understand that the health of a community is affected by a number of different factors ranging from the environment to lifestyle and even their genetic makeup. Instead of simply waiting for at risk individuals to seek treatment for an illness, they often go out into the communities themselves in an effort to help improve the overall health of a population and educate them.

Providing comprehensive health education is one of the most important parts of it public health nurses job. They are able to provide members of the public with some of the most reliable and useful information and can often be seen giving presentations at community groups, schools and senior centers. Topics that they are often seen covering range from immunization to exercise and even proper nutrition. In certain low income or rural communities, these nurses may also be seen providing critical care services to members of the public. They can provide prenatal care and immunizations in order to ensure the overall health of members of their community.