Public Health Nurse Career Plan

Public health nurses generally have education at at least the baccalaureate level; many have graduate degrees. If you want to explore this exciting career path — and improve health at the population level — you’ll probably want to get an early start. Here are some tips to get you started.

Become a Public Health Nurse

Public Health Nursing Resources…

  1. Get a solid academic foundation in high school. Take college prep or honors biology, chemistry, and composition courses. Also begin studying a foreign language.

  2. Get some health care experience. Nursing camps give you an opportunity to explore different facets of nursing. They are held by hospitals, schools of nursing, and AHEC centers. Many day camps are offered free of charge. You may also want to consider becoming a member of HOSA; there are high school and college chapters.

  3. Research Bachelor of Nursing programs. Some states have particular coursework requirements for public health nurses, so it’s best to look ahead. Complete prerequisites during your pre-professional phase. Admission to the professional program may depend on both science GPA and overall GPA as well as on your personal statement and references.

  4. While completing BSN course requirements, seek additional opportunities out in the field. Cultural competence is a must. You can explore volunteer positions at nonprofit organizations. You may want to join a professional organization like the American Nurses Association.

  5. Fulfill RN licensing requirements and (if required) obtain a public health nursing certificate from your state board.

  6. Seek an entry-level position. You might, for example, work at a community health agency. You may seek jobs through networking. It can be helpful to belong to organizations like the American Public Health Association or the Association of Community Health Nurse Educators.

  7. You may want to consider a master’s program in public health. There are several options. You can do a Master’s of Science in Nursing with a specialization in public health. You could also opt for a Master’s in Public Health. There are opportunities for online study.

Personality Traits: Public health nurses should have academic aptitude, compassion, and cultural sensitivity.