As you are considering how best to approach a future career in public health, there are many public health classes online that can offer you a big picture of how the public health field is developing today. Because the field of public health is growing faster than many other fields in a continuing sluggish economy, when you first enter the field after earning your master’s or other advanced public health degree, it can feel overwhelming to pick a career focus.
After You Graduate…
Sometimes doing research before you graduate is the best way to strategize so you can pick your classes, internships, volunteer activities, mentors, and professional associations to guide your resume and your career path towards the aspect of public health you wish to specialize in. This is an invaluable strategy for a nursing professional who wishes to enter the field of public health. Learn here what types of career opportunities there are for nurses in this rewarding and rapidly expanding field, and consider where your interests, aptitudes, and skills in nursing may be leading you.
The basic role of a public health nurse is to build bridges; you will be building bridges between the public and lawmakers, medical professionals, researchers, organizations, corporations and administrators at many levels so that ever more effective prevention, awareness, education, intervention, and wellness information can be disseminated to those who need it and can benefit from it.
Putting Your Degree To Use
With your nursing degree, you will gain valuable information about the human body as it relates to common health threats, both preventable and unavoidable, and with your public health specialization you will gain the ability to use your knowledge each day to help people stay healthier and live happier, more productive lives. You can choose to specialize in a number of different areas, from disaster response to general wellness, high-risk populations, individuals and families or even whole communities. You may work on your own as a professional or consultant, or you may join a group or organization that engages the services of a team of public health nurses to promote and advance a specific initiative.
There are many different facets to the career path of a public health nursing professional, and whichever track you choose, you are unlikely to ever have two days that are exactly the same. You may work in a clinic, office, or hospital setting, assessing, administering and then monitoring care protocols or programs that you have helped to develop. You may also work in public advocacy with lobbyists, policy makers, activists and committees that work to craft policies relating to anything from disaster response and prevention to recognized public health threats such as nicotine and obesity. You may find yourself working as an educator yourself, whether with a local college or university or on staff with an organization whose public outreach efforts include regular presentations on prevention or education by trained nursing professionals.
You may also choose to sign on with an organization, nonprofit or company that serves the public health needs of low income, rural, high risk, or even third world communities, using your nursing skills to develop education and to provide hands-on care. You can also expect some degree of local, national or even international travel during your career, depending on which track of public health nursing you select. For your time and expertise, you can look forward to a median salary in the $50,000 range as well as many rich intangible rewards as your career allows you to witness direct daily results from your efforts to serve others and improve their health and their lives.
If you are interested in exploring the field of public health nursing further, but are not sure your work or family commitments can accommodate attending a brick-and-mortar university to gain the advanced degree you will need, then the good news is that due to the popularity of the field of public health and the demand for nurses, more institutions offer flexible schedule online courses. You may be able to earn your online masters in public health right from the comfort of your home during evenings and weekends, or whenever your schedule permits.
Once you get your advanced degree in the field of public health and nursing, you will need to obtain certification and licensure to work as a nurse. When you have completed these steps, you will have everything you need to start a rewarding new career as a nurse in the field of public health.
Robert Jankowsky is training to be a nurse and hopes to be on the frontlines against this nation’s childhood obesity epidemic.