Graduate Nursing Degrees Required for Public Health Positions
Leading the 21st Century Community Health Revolution
The term “community health” encompasses a myriad of healthcare environments, patient/client demographics, and real or mythic nursing responsibilities. In its antiquated form, community health nurses are imagined to be clipboard-wielding purveyors of public school immunizations. But in today’s global society, they are an increasingly specialized and educated crowd of healthcare professionals whose work defies borders and boundaries of place and patient demographics.
Intricate Folds of Community Health
In the 21 st century social scheme, community health indicates larger, possibly disparate groups of individuals. Nursing homes, public schools, substance abuse centers, homeless shelters, and large-scale workplaces—all of these may fall under the jurisdiction of a community health nurse.
Community may be imagined on a global scale or subdivided along multifarious boundaries: local, regional, state, national; urban, suburban, and rural to remote; and again, along cultural, ethnic, social, and economic lines, until one has origami-like folds of definition and tangentially related communities.
Role of CH Nurse
Community Health Nurses, sometimes interchangeably called Public Health Nurses, are responsible for the assessment of public health, diagnosis and monitoring of disease, addictions and health hazards, and for the careful implementation of large-scale and effective care within these population folds. And again, he or she is imperatively required to assess their jurisdiction as it tangentially relates to those it touches.
Community Health-Public Health (CH-PH) nurses incorporate big picture health management with intimate patient care. Their work demands timely and effective communication with peers and with other community leaders and decision makers, and they must have the willingness to devise effective care plans within budgetary constraints. Add into the mix the innate abilities of a medicine man or seer and you have the perfect CH-PH nurse.
Degree Requirements of a Community Health Nurse
Community Health Nursing is no small task; the job presents an overwhelming basket of challenges, and nurses that take on the career often possess advanced degrees. But according to nursing statistics, about 5% of entry-level RNs take jobs in the public sector, this includes nurses with two-year Associates degrees, as well as those with four-year BSN degrees.
However, the preferable degree level for nursing personnel in decision-making capacities is at least that of an MSN. Clinical Nurse Specialists with core training in Community and Public Health are well suited to the overall scope of the field. A common professional credential in the field is the Clinical Nurse Specialist in Public/Community Health Nursing certification.
Current Trends in Community Health
A primary concern in community health circles is the aging population boom. Misinterpretation of community health venues has ostracized whole populations of aging patients that could benefit from CH-PH management. Community health programs in the future are forecast to level more intense efforts on seniors. Disease prevention education, healthy lifestyle classes, and active immunization campaigns, will likely embrace the growing communities of seniors that are, without a doubt, the partial responsibility of the Community Health Nurse.
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