Public Health Nurse

Last Updated:
April 27, 2023

Job Description Overview

A Public Health Nurse job description involves someone who works in the healthcare industry, focusing on the health of the community as a whole. Public Health Nurses promote healthy living and disease prevention strategies, working in various fields, such as education, administration, or research. They provide healthcare services, particularly for the underserved populations, ensuring that they receive the necessary medical attention. Public Health Nurses work to identify health problems and give advice on how individuals can improve their health. They collect and analyze health data, closely monitoring community health trends and outcomes, and participate in health campaigns to educate the community on health-related issues. These healthcare professionals are also involved in planning, implementing, and evaluating healthcare programs and policies, and collaborating with other healthcare providers to ensure that the community's health is at its optimum. Public Health Nurses may also provide primary care services, particularly in rural areas where access to medical services is limited.

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Job Duties and Responsibilities

  • Educate communities on public health concerns
  • Promote healthy lifestyles and prevent illness
  • Conduct health assessments and screenings
  • Develop and implement health programs
  • Provide direct patient care and referrals
  • Collaborate with healthcare professionals and community organizations
  • Respond to public health emergencies
  • Collect and analyze health data to identify trends and needs
  • Advocate for health policies and legislation
  • Conduct research to advance public health knowledge.

Experience and Education Requirements

To be a public health nurse in the healthcare industry, you need both education and experience. Usually, you need to have at least a bachelor's degree in nursing and a license to practice nursing. Some employers prefer a master's degree, though this is not always required. You should also have experience working in public health or community health settings, such as in a clinic or community center. This job involves working with individuals and communities to promote health, prevent disease, and respond to health crises. Good communication, problem-solving, and organizational skills are important, as well as a deep commitment to helping people and improving health.

Salary Range

Public Health Nurse salary range varies by location, experience, and education level. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual salary for a Public Health Nurse in the United States is $73,390, with the lowest 10% earning less than $53,760 and the highest 10% earning more than $109,820. In Canada, the median salary is C$77,580 ($61,303 USD), according to In the United Kingdom, Public Health Nurses earn an average of £32,000 ($39,971 USD) per year, according to Keep in mind that salary ranges may also vary by employer, such as with government agencies, non-profit organizations, or private healthcare facilities. 


  • Bureau of Labor Statistics:

Career Outlook

If you're considering becoming a Public Health Nurse, the career outlook is bright! The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects an 8% increase in employment growth for registered nurses, which includes Public Health Nurses, from 2019 to 2029. In addition, healthcare systems and communities recognize the importance of prevention and early intervention, leading to an increased demand for public health nurses. This demand is especially high in rural and underserved communities where public health nurses play a vital role in promotion, prevention, and education. So, not only is the job market growing, but Public Health Nurses have an opportunity to make a meaningful impact on their communities. Overall, a career as a Public Health Nurse offers both job security and a rewarding sense of purpose.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Q: What exactly does a Public Health Nurse do?

A: Public Health Nurses provide essential health education and services to communities, often focusing on disease prevention and ensuring access to healthcare resources.

Q: What kind of education and training is needed to become a Public Health Nurse? 

A: Public Health Nurses typically hold a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree and have completed additional coursework in public health. They also must pass a state licensing exam.

Q: Where do Public Health Nurses typically work?

A: Public Health Nurses may work in a variety of settings, including government agencies, community health centers, schools, and hospitals.

Q: What kind of skills are important for a Public Health Nurse to have?

A: Public Health Nurses must be skilled in communication, problem-solving, and critical thinking. They must also have a strong background in health education and be knowledgeable about community resources.

Q: What are some examples of the kind of work a Public Health Nurse might do?

A: A Public Health Nurse may provide immunizations, conduct health screenings, offer health education to community members, track and investigate disease outbreaks, and help individuals and families access healthcare services.

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