From health education to scientific research, the public health nursing sector offers you numerous opportunities to help promote and protect your community at a federal, local, and state level. As a public health nurse, you will focus on preventing diseases and injuries while encouraging healthy habits.
Depending on your educational training, you may find yourself working as a:
- First responder
- Health educator
- Community planner
- Public health nurse
- Public policymaker
- Occupational health and safety professional APHA, 2015, August 10
In order to advance your career as a registered nurse in South Dakota, you can enroll in a master's degree program that has proper accreditation through a governing body, such as the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education. Not only does the CCNE ensure you are being taught with quality and integrity, but this organization also ensures you are properly prepared to take your licensing exam. Click on a college near you to learn more today.
As an aspiring public health nurse, you will need to earn your Master of Science in Nursing and hold a public health specialty, which can take up to three years to finish. You will need to provide all applicable transcripts and licensing documentation before being accepted into the program. You may also need to prove that you hold your CPR certification as well as have taken the following courses:
- Nursing research
- Applied statistics
- Health assessment
Combining classroom instruction with a clinical practicum, graduate degree programs teach you the knowledge and skills needed to increase healthcare access, educate the community, identify health risks, advocate policies, and perform scientific research. Before graduation, you will likely need to finish up to 500 hours of clinical training under direct supervision. Coursework covers core academic and advanced specialty subjects, such as:
- Advanced pathophysiology
- Public health nursing leadership and management
- Public health nursing theory and practice
- Environmental health
If you are looking for financial assistance to help cover tuition costs and living expenses, you have several options available to you through the Health Resources and Services Administration, the federal government, or private healthcare institutions. You may take advantage of the FAFSA, but you need to fill out the application before the deadline.
You may also enter into a fellowship through the Council of Graduate Schools or apply for the Faculty Loan Repayment Program through the HRSA. Many colleges even offer scholarships for nursing students.
Economic experts report that South Dakota employs approximately 11,620 registered nurses, which encompasses public health nurses (BLS, 2015, August 10). As of 2014, studies show that the national employment outlook for the nursing sector is expecting a 19 percent increase in available positions by 2022. Being faster than the national average, this growth could provide up to 2,208 additional opportunities for you in South Dakota's medical field (BLS, 2015, August 10).
To prove to potential employers that you have the knowledge needed to succeed in this field, you can earn the APHN-BC credential, in which the American Nurses Credentialing Center asses your portfolio to ensure you hold entry-level clinical skills and knowledge in the public health specialty.
Start your journey to becoming a successful public health nurse by contacting the schools below with a master's degree program in South Dakota today.