Career Definition of Public Health Nurse Practitioners
With a career as a public health nurse practitioner, you will serve an active role in improving the health of your community. You may work for local or federal health services agencies. One focus of this role is to provide basic medical services to residents, such as giving immunizations or prescribing medication. You will work with patients to create a health plan that manages their ongoing conditions and promotes their overall health. It is essential that you maintain patient confidentiality and accurate medical records.
Along with providing medical services, you will have a second focus as a public health nurse practitioner. You will collaborate with other medical personnel on preventing the spread of infectious diseases within your community. This may include sourcing and monitoring candidates for health studies. A third focus of this role is providing educational outreach services to residents, including how to maintain general good health. Finally, you may be required to oversee personnel like medical assistants if your supervisor is not available.
|Educational Requirements||Master's degree|
|Job Skills||Compassion, excellent communication skills, and an ability to work independently|
|Median Salary (2016)*||$100,910 (All Nurse Practitioners)|
|Job Outlook (2016-2026)*||36% (All Nurse Practitioners)|
Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)
A job as a public health nurse practitioner requires at least a master's degree in a nurse practitioner specialty such as public health, adult, family or women's health. Some employers may accept a bachelor's degree in nursing. Most states require nurse practitioners to be licensed as a registered nurse and to pass a certification exam.
Compassion is one of the most crucial attributes you will need as a public health nurse practitioner. You will be helping people who may be at their most vulnerable and need more than just medical treatment. Along with compassion, you will need excellent communication skills in this role. As a public health nurse practitioner, you will deal with a diverse group of patients within your community. You will also need the ability to work independently and be able to make medical decisions in high-pressure situations.
Career Outlook and Salary
The position of a public health nurse practitioner would fall under the general employment grouping of nurse practitioners. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports employment for this group will grow by a projected 36% during 2016-2026. This growth is much faster than average due to people taking a more active role in their health, such as seeking preventive care. The BLS also reports that in 2016 nurse practitioners earned a median salary of $100,910.
You will need a strong desire to help others in order to work as a public health nurse practitioner. Several careers, including a public health administrator, also focus on the well-being of community members.