Pursuing a Master’s in Public Health Nursing: What You Need to Know

What will earning a Master’s in Public Health Nursing mean for your career? Well, just in case you missed the headline that The Atlantic released this year, here it is: “Health Care Just Became the U.S.’s Largest Employer.” Out of the top 10 fastest growing jobs that the US Bureau of Labor Statistics measures, five are under health care and elderly assistance!

Public health nursing falls under this umbrella, and jobs within this sector are found across a variety of settings, including public, education, private, and non-profit. With so many options, you can expect to grow your nursing career in public health rapidly, armed with a Master’s in Nursing (MSN degree) and a specialization in public or population health. Hoping to learn more about your options? Read on for our handy what-you-need-to-know guide.

Q. What is the goal of public health nursing?

A. Public health nurses focus on health care at the community level. They evaluate programs, manage budgets, and conduct behind-the-scenes planning. They work well alongside others, championing teamwork and collaboration. They are sensitive to cultural differences, and they are careful listeners. Overall, their goal is to improve community health and access to quality care.

Q. How do public health nurses apply their skills and passions?

A. There are many ways to approach a career in public health nursing. Public health deals with lots of population data, and institutions need nurses to assess and make sense of analytics. For those with a knack for mathematics, becoming a Health Informatics Specialist is one application of a degree in public health. Working in community health is another common role for public health nurses: for instance, serving as a Health Educator or Community Health Worker. These positions approach health from a holistic angle, and often those who are drawn to them also enjoy political science and sociology. A public health nurse may also want to focus on environmental health and hazards. For instance, a public health nurse may conduct research and provide solutions on how to prevent negative environmental effects on health, including air quality, water quality, and further issues related to pollution.

A public health nurse may also work directly with patients within a community, as a registered nurse or an advanced practicing nurse. Their work may involve treating patients in need, disease and infection control, health prevention efforts, or bringing quality medical resources into an ill-equipped community. With a Master’s in Public Health Nursing, or simply a Master’s in Nursing (MSN), nurses can advance their work into administrative, instructive, and leadership roles within the field. This may involve determining intervention strategies and establishing health maintenance plans to protect the greater good. Click here to learn more about becoming a public health nurse.

Q. What’s the difference between working as a public health nurse for the government, education, private, and non-profit?

A. There are exciting opportunities within all of these sectors. The choice is really up to you, with a Master’s in Public Health Nursing or an MSN! Some interesting options in government are working for the Center for Disease Control, the primary federal public health organization, National Institutes of Health, which is nestled under the Department of Health and Human Services, or in public policy and research at the smaller local and state health department levels. Under the education sector, you may find employment in a University setting, applying your skills to a career in teaching and medical research. Nurse educators may also work in hospitals or clinical settings, training and guiding RNs. Working in a private health care setting might mean working for a corporation and ensuring the health of its workforce. A job in the private sector could also include pharmaceutical research and consulting. Non-profit public health nursing may encompass advocacy work, either on global unification, or on specific disease assessment and treatment.

Q. What can I expect to earn as a public health nurse?

A. Salaries within the public health occupations field vary widely by specialty. The median salary is $55k However, for instance, medical and health service managers (which includes Nurse Managers!) may earn around $103k, and health specialties teachers make upwards of $112k. Depending on your professional health care interests, you can begin with a Master of Science in Nursing and continue pursuing opportunities in the direction that best fits your talents and passions.

Q. How will the Goodwin Master of Science in Nursing curriculum aid my career in public health?

A. The Goodwin MSN curriculum, which is focused largely on population health, is specially constructed with career-readiness in mind. Courses such as “Theoretical Basis of Advanced Nursing Practice and Leadership” can help you build your foundation as a leader in the health care industry, while advanced pathophysiology and pharmacology courses refresh your technical skills. Meanwhile, courses like “Policy, Politics, and Organization of Healthcare” give you the ins and outs that will help you be the change you want to see in health care policy. The Goodwin MSN curriculum is well-rounded, so that you can apply these courses to your unique career path.

Ready to learn more about the Goodwin MSN program application process? Visit us online, or contact our representatives today at 800-889-3282.