Top 3 Reasons Why You Should Be Talking About Public Health Nurses

Posted by Jennifer Verta on Jun 25, 2015 1:57:00 PM

Angels exist on earth. They're called Nurses.


They have real flesh and bone and are not flying around the ever-reaching skies above watching over us. You may be wondering 'what the heck is she talking about?' Let me fill you in...

The world of careers in nursing is vast and filled with many different and yet equally important pieces that fit together to improve overall health. Most nurses that people know about work in hospitals fervently trying to keep illness and injury at bay. 

But I have a different kind of nurse for you to consider: Public Health Nurse. Think of them as preventative maintenance or as I was mentioning earlier, the guardian angels of the earth. 

Still confused? Let me explain...

Most nurses that we are familiar with care for one patient at a time. However, Public Health Nursing (PHN) involves working with communities and populations as equal partners, and focusing on primary prevention and health promotion according to

Here are three reasons why (among many) a Public Health Nurse career is definitely worth looking at:


Public Health Nurses, (lets call them PHN's for short) have a wide reach. They work together with communities to improve the overall health of the entire area.  PHN's are highly dedicated to their work and put in a lot of effort to improve the health of the community and access to care.

Characteristics that make a PHN special:

  • Being able to work well together in large groups
  • Listening attentively
  • Understanding of the many different cultures they will be interacting with


A PHN will often be employed through:

  • Government agencies
  • Nonprofit groups
  • Community health centers
  • Other establishments with a similar focus of bettering health at a societal rank.

During employment they will closely monitor health trends and identify risk factors that are specific to each community. A PHN could work alone to complete these tasks or on a team, and often supervise other health care personnel. After making their observations and drawing conclusions, they continue to work behind the scenes by making sure the programs they put in place are getting the job done.



According to when PHN's monitor health trends and identifying risk factors they gain the knowledge necessary to effectively educate others on ways to improve their health. One of the most important aspects of a PHN's career is getting the message out to as many people as possible about the importance of improving health and the many different ways to do so.

A PHN will design and implement health education campaigns and disease prevention activities, such as immunizations and screenings. They may travel locally or to other places much further away in order to meet with community groups to bring health care services to communities that need them and have little access.

Some of these health care services include:

  • immunizing children
  • providing pre-natal and well-baby care
  • teaching the elderly how to stay safe and healthy at home

So... are you interested?

Like most everything else, to become a PHN there are first some steps to take. has a lot of helpful info on PHN prerequisites. The two main requirements are:

Obtain a Bachelors Degree

A bachelors degree of science in nursing satisfies the base educational requirement for becoming registered nurse or for advancing a student's nursing expertise. These 4-year degree programs combine classroom learning with clinical experience opportunities.

Get Certified

The American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) offers certification for public health nurses in two capacities: a PHN - advanced or a public and community health clinical nurse specialist. Attempting to obtain certification requires a valid RN license. Candidates must pass a computerized test in order to become certified. Certification must be renewed every five years, which requires completion of continuing education.


A brief look into the world of Public Health Nurses to wet the palette. A PHN plays a vital role in the world of health and education and there are only increasing demands. What do YOU think about it?

Do you know anyone who is a PHN or that has benefited from their care? Share your PSN stories in the comments below! 

If PHN is not quite for you but your interested in browsing Public Health Careers, check out The Ultimate Cheat Sheet on Public Health, it will definitely set you in the right direction! If you’re interested in more education on Public Health and Public Health careers in general, the University of Colorado has a great online Public Health program.

Until next time readers!

-Jennifer Verta OUT!-


Topics: Public Health Jobs, public health career

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