Public health nurse responsibilities
To keep communities healthy, public health nurses may provide nursing care to treat urgent illnesses, give immunizations, and provide preventive care and general education on health and wellness matters. Many community health nurses also work to monitor environmental and social factors that impact health disparities across populations. These public health professionals can then focus attention and efforts on vulnerable populations to improve overall community health.
Community health nurses also serve as educators for community members. In this role, they keep the community aware of recent updates in healthcare applications, such as if there’s a new vaccine or recently identified disease risk factors. Nurses also educate patients individually to make them aware of support services and care providers in their area.
Public health nurses cover a range of other responsibilities. They often work directly with patients, providing remedial treatment and following up with family members. Nurses also record and analyze medical data across their community in search of trends that can improve the quality of care.
Public health nursing skills
Public health nurses share a few distinct qualities. They need to have a demonstrated passion for helping others and patience for any community members who might be reluctant to seek treatment. It’s also helpful for these nurses to have sufficient knowledge of common care programs so they can answer patients’ questions.
Additionally, it’s important for community health nurses to have good communication skills. They must be able to speak with patients and clearly discuss symptoms, treatment and outcomes. Communication skills are also helpful for conversing with local leaders, particularly when advocating for new programs or resources.
Other useful skills include being able to strategically plan, think critically and function in a leadership position if need be.
Public health is a field that often changes. Practitioner responsibilities may change as treatments, procedures, medical devices and rehabilitation methods evolve. As a public health nurse, you should have a desire to learn new things and to introduce newly learned concepts to community members.