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Community Health Nurse Job Description, Career as a Community Health Nurse, Salary, Employment

Definition and Nature of the Work, Education and Training Requirements, Getting the Job

Training/Educational Requirements: Master of Science in Nursing and certification

Median Salary: $51,000 annually

Job Prospects: Excellent

Job Description

A community health nurse dedicates her nursing profession to helping those less fortunate. Health nurses serve the general public in facilities such as health clinics. They are an integral part of serving the community of people that can’t afford medical services or who don’t have health insurance.

There are many different ways community health nurses serve patients. Their first and foremost responsibility is patient care. They are also an integral part of keeping the patient’s health on track. They connect patients with other healthcare facilities and ensure they receive proper treatment. The clinics that serve the uninsured or underinsured have to be prepared to handle all sorts of patient care and various conditions. Therefore, the community health nurse plays an important role in seeing, diagnosing, and treating patients with all sorts of issues.

Not only do community health nurses serve the public through clinics, but they also visit patient homes. One of their main roles is to educate patients on appropriate ways to prevent health problems and dependencies, ranging from obesity to substance abuse. They are the main point of contact from the health community to the general public They also travel to patient homes to help with education and treatment for a wide array of medical conditions.

Community health nurses are also involved in prenatal and pediatric care. Many nurses in this area help educate and treat pregnant women who don’t have access to health insurance. Patient care and education are at the forefront of this role and create the foundation for all community health nurse responsibilities.

Training/Educational Requirements

To apply for a career as a community health nurse, it’s essential to have a Bachelor of Science degree in nursing. It is also essential these nurses first serve in a role as a registered nurse with the proper license for that role in their home state. To become a community health nurse, one must receive a master’s degree in nursing. There are a variety of classes in a nursing program to prepare individuals for this career, including environmental health and social behavior classes.

Many community health nurses have field experience working with the public as a registered nurse. It’s more likely to receive a career in this field if serving in a similar role for at least two years. This prepares an individual for the demands of this occupation, and teaches them everything it entails. Although hands-on experience is not a requirement, it is certainly looked upon favorably. Any experience in this capacity prepares an individual for a career as a community health nurse.

How to Get Hired

To get hired as a community health nurse, it’s important to have a good combination of education and experience. Although this job is in high demand, the more related experience an individual possesses, the better chances they have for getting hired. Not only is it necessary to have a background working as a registered nurse, but it’s highly favorable to have specific experience working in a public nursing role.

To get a license to serve as a community health nurse, a background working as a registered nurse is the most important starting point. All of the appropriate education and licensing for that role plays a key role in learning what it takes to be a successful community health nurse. There are specific areas to focus on, so it can be helpful to gain nursing experience in these areas. For example, focusing on treating children as a registered nurse helps an individual’s chances of getting hired as a community health nurse after they receive proper certification. The best way to get hired is to show the required education and certification, and then demonstrate knowledge of this area of healthcare with related experience.

Job Prospects, Employment Outlook, and Career Development

Fortunately the demand for this job is quite high. Not only is healthcare a high demand industry right now, but the need for community health nurses is great as more people lose their insurance. With tough economic times, the need for this specific role tends to increase. As more families turn to public resources for their healthcare needs, an increase in the number of community health nurses is required to staff them.

As people live longer and require more healthcare, the necessity for education and prevention of certain health conditions becomes vitally important. This is where opportunities arise for community health nurses. The more community programs that become available, the more nurses will need to be on staff to run them. Patients will turn to these nurses for treatment, recommendations, and general education. This is one role a tough economy will help strengthen.

Working Environment

Community health nurses work in a wide array of environments. Some work in public clinics where they serve any number of patients with all types of medical conditions that require treatment. Some community health nurses primarily travel to patient homes to help them with the education process, and work one-on-one to ensure they understand how to prevent certain medical conditions.

Some community health nurses work in a school, community-based facility such as a community center, or in a government institution. There are many different opportunities for community health nurses to serve the public. Each work environment depends on the way in which they care for their patients. If it is a clinic, these nurses can expect to work in a very busy, sometimes loud medical facility. They may be understaffed and forced to take on many responsibilities. If traveling to patient homes, community health nurses work in a variety of households. They must be prepared to deal with potential resistance, or obstacles when providing education and treatment.

Salary and Benefits

The average salary for a community health nurse is $51,000 per year. However, the general salary range is from $44,000-$64,000 a year. The level of experience a nurse brings to the table can have a great impact on the salary they receive. Additionally, the type of patient care they provide and the environment they work within can provide an entirely new salary range.

Community health nurses generally receive standard benefits including paid vacation, and medical coverage. Additional benefits may apply if they work for a union or government institution.

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