When you think about the biggest changes in health care over the last hundred years, you may find that they all have something in common. Almost every major medical advance that has changed the world relates to public health. Vaccines, disease testing, and treatment for infectious diseases have all increased the average lifespan and decreased rates of illness across the board. The field of public health is an extremely important one that is always looking forward to how to create a healthier society.
In Illinois, public health is a crucial part of the medical industry. The Illinois Department of Public Health employs public health nurses to track disease outbreaks, educate residents, provide free public health services and minimize residents’ exposure to contagious disease.
If you want to use your nursing experience in a new and exciting way, request information from the schools below to learn about public health nursing graduate programs in Illinois.
Your time as a registered nurse is an important part of your public health education. However, you must still learn about many areas of nursing that you may have never studied or that you have minimal experience with. In your two to three years as a public health nursing student, you may jump into topics like epidemiology, community health, epidemics and disease transmission, and health education.
These topics are fairly diverse, which is why most programs require the completion of 30 to 40 credits before graduation. Some of the classes you may enroll in include Perspective Transformation in Nursing, Nursing Research, Advanced Nursing Theories, Theoretical Basis of Public Health Nursing, and Epidemiology.
While you work your way through these courses, you must be able to apply your knowledge to public health settings. During your clinical rotations, you may work in clinics, explore nursing research, and get involved in public health issues in Illinois.
Since you already have your Bachelor’s degree in nursing, you may know a little bit about the financial aid options available to Illinois nursing students. Many of the same grants and scholarships are open to graduate students. The Illinois Center for Nursing has a number of scholarship and loan repayment programs for students who commit to working in the state after graduation.
The work of public health nurses can be seen everywhere in Illinois. From health care legislation to education and outreach efforts, public health nurses are always working to improve the state of Illinois. One recent bill, backed by public health professionals and nurses, would permit nursing home executives or the state to put cameras in nursing homes. Through measures like this one, public health nurses protect at-risk populations from abuse and exploitation.
Illinois has a stable job outlook for registered nurses, as O*Net anticipates an 11% increase in jobs by 2022. The average salary for a nurse is $66,100 per year (O*Net, 2014). Keep in mind, however, that your advanced certification may help you qualify for more jobs and increase your earning potential.
Are you ready to spend your workdays making Illinois a healthier state? Find out how you can do that by requesting information from public health nursing programs in Illinois.