How Do I Become a Public Health Nurse?

Jodee Redmond
Jodee Redmond
A public health nurse will need to hold an associate or bachelor degree in nursing.
A public health nurse will need to hold an associate or bachelor degree in nursing.

A person who has set a personal goal to become a public health nurse must start by completing the requirements to become a registered nurse. Successfully completing a bachelor's or associate's degree in nursing is required before writing the licensing exam. Aspiring community health nurses continue their education and take courses required for a master's degree in public health. Graduates from the program can apply for public health nurse jobs.

The process of preparing for a career in public health nursing can start with choosing high school courses in biology, chemistry and mathematics. Taking English courses can also benefit a person who wants to become a public health nurse, since being able to communicate clearly in writing is an important skill for people working in this field.

Enrolling in a nursing degree program is the next step for someone who wants to become a public health nurse. Some colleges and universities will only admit students who have completed an associate's degree in nursing. Anyone who is considering enrolling in a nursing degree program should make a point of reviewing the admission requirements as part of the investigative process before choosing a school.

A bachelor of science in nursing degree program will include courses on a number of topics. Students will take courses in anatomy, physiology and chemistry. English and composition courses are also part of a curriculum that someone who wants to become a public health nurse will follow. Nursing theory, research in nursing, and pharmacology are also part of the course of study.

Once a nurse has completed his or her formal education and successfully passed the national licensing exam to become a registered nurse, the next step in the process to become a public health nurse is to enroll in a master's degree program with a focus on public health nursing. The curriculum will vary, depending on the institution involved, but the program will include instruction in public health nursing theory and practice, statistical methods and reasoning, and epidemiology. Other courses in the master's program include quantitative sciences and biology. Enrollees will also study management and social sciences as part of the degree requirements.

Other parts of a master's degree program in public health nursing involve studying nursing theory and ethics, program development in nursing and population-based care. The program may also include nursing electives. Students will also complete a practicum before graduation.

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    • A public health nurse will need to hold an associate or bachelor degree in nursing.
      A public health nurse will need to hold an associate or bachelor degree in nursing.