Public Health Nurse - Job Description, Duties, Education, Skills, Salary, & Growth

Public Health Nurse (PHN)

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Job Description

 

Public health nurses are responsible for helping to manage and improve the health not just of single individuals, but of whole communities and populations.

They interact directly with communities, helping to build healthier lifestyles and environments that make people healthier overall and prevent diseases and medical problems before they occur.

They help boost access to care, educate people on improving their health and safety, and serve as a go-between with government health organizations to help communities.

Public health nurses also offer care and health services to people who have difficulty accessing them, in addition to their vital education activities.

They carry out screening and preventive care in the community environment rather than in the hospital and may aid in setting up vaccination clinics or temporary clinics in low-income areas.

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Responsibilities

 

Besides developing public health programs like vaccination and screening, public health nurses monitor health trends and identify potential problems in a population.

They provide information, advice, and data on where to seek care to people, and serve as advocates working to improve community health services provided by the government.

Public health nurses spend considerable time educating the public in useful health knowledge, including how to care for sick or disabled relatives, how to prevent or quickly detect diseases, provide actionable safety demonstrations, and provide useful advice on healthier nutrition.

This empowers people to take better care of their health and live healthier lives with higher quality of life.

Public health nurses often work in rural or low-income communities to provide childhood immunization, offer other health services, and inform older people on good methods for increasing their health and safety.

They also remain alert for signs of community health problems developing and alert other professionals if additional aid is needed.

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Skills

 

They must possess excellent communication skills to teach people in clear, easy to understand language how to achieve a healthier lifestyle or administer care to one another.

The ability to meet various cultures and handle interactions with them sensitively is indispensable since they interact with people from all walks of life.

They need to be good listeners, know how to prepare and organize programs and plans for community health improvement, and manage very limited resources to achieve positive health outcomes for the community.

Dedication and hard work are both musts because it is a demanding job and requires a ton of travel and field work.

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Working Conditions

 

These professionals often work for community health organizations, government organizations at the local, state, or federal level, or nonprofit organizations. 

Public health nurses carry out extensive field work and spend a large amount of time in the community rather than an office setting, often engaging in significant travel to reach places their service is needed.

They may work alone or as part of a team, and are in frequent contact with diverse people. 

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Salary Outlook