When it comes to measuring health outcomes, every agency in the world looks at public health. One healthy person in a community is great; a community where 90% of the residents meet health goals is extraordinary. This field is extremely diverse, covering varied issues like drug epidemics, teen pregnancy, environmental health issues, and infectious disease.
The importance of public health in Virginia is clear when you look at how many agencies and groups work to improve public health outcomes. The Virginia Public Health Association unites public health nurses and other professionals to work toward common goals in health care. This group can keep you up-to-date and involved in this important field.
Explore this specialty and your options within it by finding out more about public health nursing graduate programs in Virginia.
As Virginia officials attempt to meet the health care standards of the federal government, the need for public health nurses may continue to increase. However, since this field requires you to be able to work in different settings with people of varying needs, you must be ready to meet a strict set of requirements to call yourself a public health nurse.
Your education and experience is what will define you as a public health nurse. Both Master’s degree programs and doctoral programs can prepare you for certification as a public health nurse. While a Master’s degree may only require two or three years of work, a PhD may take considerably longer, depending on how quickly you complete your thesis. Spend some time thinking about your long-term career goals before deciding which program is the best choice for you.
No matter which type of program you decide to attend, courses tend to be similar between programs and schools. Courses that can help you meet the learning goals of your program include Epidemiology and World Health, Biostatistical Processes in Health Care, Health Promotion and Research, Public Health Leadership, Local to Global Health Policy, Health Care Systems Planning & Evaluation, Foundations of Advanced Nursing, and Transformational Leadership in Nursing.
Applying for scholarships is the next step after getting accepted to a program. The Virginia Department of Health funds several scholarships for nursing students.
When you can put your education to work and start working as a public health professional, you should soon discover that the work you do makes a difference for thousands of Virginia residents. In fact, the work you do may bring about positive change for at-risk populations like children, elderly residents, and minority groups.
Recently, poverty rates for Virginia children shot up, alarming public health professionals. Children in this position may suffer from malnutrition, fewer opportunities at school, and higher rates of illness. With your training, you may be able to come up with solutions to tough problems like this one.
As health care expands, the demand for public health nurses may grow rapidly throughout Virginia. The demand for registered nurses is expected to swell 13% by 2022 in Virginia (O*Net, 2012). It is likely that an advanced degree can improve your earning potential. The average salary for a Virginia registered nurse is $62,600 per year (O*Net, 2014).
Jump into the next stage of your career now by getting more information from public health nursing programs in Virginia.