If you are a registered nurse who wishes to have an impact on public health in Washington, becoming a licensed public health nurse allows you to advance your career and enter into a leadership role in the medical industry. As an aspiring public health nurse, you can design and implement medical programs and healthcare policies to help vulnerable populations.
You may find employment opportunities in a variety of settings, such as:
- Correctional facilities
- Community health centers
- Health departments
- Mobile vans (APHN, 2015, August 10)
No matter the leadership position, you will likely need to earn a Master of Science in Nursing as well as have a focus in public health. In order to be properly prepared for the required licensing examination, you should enroll in a public health graduate program that has gained accreditation through a main regulatory institute like the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education. Check out accredited colleges in Washington today from the list below.
Like most graduate programs, public health nursing schools insist that certain prerequisites be fulfilled before you are approved for enrollment. You will need to submit previous nursing school transcripts, a copy of your RN certification, and proof of completion for the following courses:
- Applied sciences
- Undergraduate statistics
- Health assessment
If you are planning on attending college full time, then you can expect to earn your MSN degree within two to three years. As a graduate nursing student, you will need to attend both educational and clinical training. Instructors will teach you how to design and implement new policies, research potential health risks, take on leadership positions, and educate the masses. Hands-on training typically consists of 500 hours in a clinical practicum, allowing you to focus on helping patients directly and indirectly. Before you can graduate, you will need to complete all applicable core, specialty, and elective courses, such as:
- Context of healthcare for advanced practice nursing
- Public health nursing theory and practice
- Program development and evaluation in healthcare
- Applications of research to practice
Financial assistance can help provide the funds you need to focus solely on college without having to worry about work or high-interest loans. You may qualify for a variety of scholarships through the National Health Service CORPS or the NURSE Corps. If you meet the program's requirements, you may also apply for a fellowship or a student loan through your college or a healthcare organization. Click on a master's degree program to review available nursing scholarships today.
Among the top-paying states for nurses in the country, Washington boasts an average annual salary of $78,540. As a licensed public health nurse, you could end up making around $110,800 per year, especially if you earn the APHN-BC credential to show you are knowledgeable in your field of expertise (BLS, 2015, August 10).
You will need to provide your final degree transcripts, professional development activities' records, exemplar, and performance evaluations. Once you have earned your certification, you will need to renew it every five years.
According to recent statistics, public health nursing may see a 19 percent growth throughout the nation (BLS, 2015, August 10). With Washington currently employing 51,600 registered nurses, this demand increase could potentially provide 9,804 more employment opportunities by 2022 (BLS, 2015, August 10).
Learn more about public health nursing programs in Washington today by contacting the schools below for more information.