*articles contain affiliate links*
In this post, we discuss the role of a community health nurse. A community health nurse is a vital member of the healthcare team. They work in the community to promote and maintain the health of all residents. They may provide direct medical care or work with other professionals to ensure that residents have access to the needed services.
With the number of medical issues being diagnosed each year, it would seem impossible to navigate through them without the help of a health nurse. Unfortunately, many people don’t even know what they are or why they are needed. But don’t worry, in this blog post, I will discuss the key role of health nurses, what they do to improve the health of their community, and more.
A community nurse is a registered nurse who provides essential healthcare services to the underserved populations in our society. For instance, patients suffering from chronic diseases such as heart disease, arthritis, diabetes, HIV/AIDS, asthma, cancer, and mental illness often require constant monitoring and supervision. They work with individuals, families, and groups to assess and improve the overall health issues of their communities.
Community nurses work in public health clinics, hospitals, schools, health agencies, or other community settings. They may also provide home-based care to patients who cannot leave their homes. The common responsibilities of health nurse include:
- Assessing patient’s health status.
- Providing immunizations and other preventive care services.
- Counseling on healthy lifestyles.
- Refer patients to specialty care if needed.
- Collaboration with other health professionals and with government agencies
The goal of community health nursing is to promote and protect the health of vulnerable populations. Community health nurses work with individuals, families, and health care facilities to identify health risks and disparities, develop and implement prevention and wellness educational programs, and advocate for equitable access to healthcare.
Community health nursing is a vital part of ensuring that everyone has the opportunity to live a healthy life. By working with communities to identify needs and hazards, community health nurses can help ensure that people have the resources they need to stay healthy.
Through health education, prevention, and advocacy efforts, health nurses help build more vibrant and healthier communities for everyone.
The nurses work in various health education programs, including clinics, schools, hospitals, and homes. They may also travel to rural or remote areas to provide quality health care. In the community, they may work with local organizations to provide health screenings, immunizations, and other services. They may also teach classes on topics such as nutrition, exercise, and infectious disease prevention.
In schools, community health nurses may provide vision and hearing screenings, conduct physical exams, and provide immunizations. They may also teach students about healthy lifestyles and offer guidance on dealing with stress.
In hospitals, the nurses may work in the emergency room, labor and delivery unit, or the intensive care unit. They may also provide discharge planning and home care services to patients leaving the hospital.
Many organizations offer certification for community nurses for their services.
The National Board for Community Health Nursing Certification (NBCHN), the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC), and the Public Health Nursing Certification Board (PHNCB) are just a few of them.
Each organization has different eligibility requirements, but most require completion of an accredited community health nursing program and a certain amount of experience working in the field. Some also require passing an exam.
Once certified, you will need to renew your credential every few years by completing continuing education credits or retaking the exam.
Renewing your certification ensures you stay up-to-date on the latest developments in community health nursing and allows you to maintain your status as a certified community health nurse.
To become a community health nurse, you must complete an accredited registered nursing program. You can find more information about registered nursing programs on the National Council of State Boards of Nursing website.
After graduating from nursing school, you will need to pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN).
Once you have obtained your RN license, you can pursue a career in community health nursing by completing a specialized certification program. The American Nurses Credentialing Center offers the Certified Community Health Nurse credential.
Community healthcare professionals enjoy many personal and professional benefits. They have the satisfaction of knowing that they are making a difference in the lives of others and improving the health of their communities.
Take Charge of Your Nursing Career
Your first year as a nurse is daunting. You need someone in your corner telling you what your managers really need from you, helping you learn to interact with your preceptor, and really just manage your life. Find all that an more with the FreshRN VIP – Membership.
I’m Ready to Thrive
The benefits of being a community nurse are many and varied. Here are just a few:
- You get to help people in need. Community health nurses work with underserved populations, providing much-needed care and services.
- You get to be a true healthcare advocate. In many cases, community health nurses are the only healthcare provider some people will see. They are essential in educating patients about healthy lifestyle choices and preventive care measures.
- You get to make a difference in the lives of others. For many community health nurses, the job is more than just a paycheck – it’s a calling. They take great pride in helping their patients improve their health and wellbeing.
- You get to work in a variety of settings. Community health nurses may work in clinics, hospitals, schools, or even patients’ homes. This variety provides them with opportunities to learn new clinical skills and experience different aspects of healthcare.
- You get to help build healthier communities. By working to improve the health of those who live in their communities, community health nurses can help make a lasting difference.
- You get to advance your career. There are many opportunities for career growth and advancement for community health nurses. With nursing experience, some may choose to move into management or school nursing. Others may decide to specialize in a particular area of healthcare, such as geriatrics or diabetes education.
- You get to enjoy a flexible schedule. Many community health nurses work part-time or full-time, which allows them to maintain an excellent work-life balance.
Job Outlook and Salary Information
The job outlook for community health nurses is good. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), registered nurse employment is projected to grow 15% from 2019 to 2029, faster than the average for all occupations.
According to payscale, the average salary for a Community Health Nurse is $62,113.
- An early career Community Health Nurse with 1-4 years of experience earns an average total compensation (includes tips, bonus, and overtime pay) of $32.00 based on 20 salaries.
- A mid-career Community Health Nurse with 5-9 years of experience earns an average total compensation of $28.33 based on 14 salaries.
- An experienced Community Health Nurse with 10-19 years of experience earns an average total compensation of $30.29 based on 11 salaries.
- In their late career (20 years or higher), employees earn an average compensation of $30.
Community health nurses play a vital role in the healthcare of their communities. They provide much-needed care and services to underserved populations and help to educate patients about healthy lifestyle choices and preventive care measures.
With an aging population and an increasing focus on preventative care, the demand for community nurses is expected to grow in the coming years. This provides many opportunities for nursing career growth and advancement.
What Is the Difference Between a Community Health Nurse and a Public Health Nurse?
Community and public health nurses work to improve their communities health, but the two roles have some critical differences. Community nurses typically do assessments of individual patients, providing direct care and health care services. Public health nurses, on the other hand, focus on population-level interventions. They develop and implement programs and health policies to improve an entire community’s health.
To become a community health nurse, you must have at least a bachelor’s or associate degree in nursing. In some cases, a master’s degree may be required. You will also need to be licensed as a registered nurse in the state where you practice. You can also go for a BSN degree program or advanced nursing degree.
It depends on the level of education and experience you already have. For example, if you already have a bachelor’s degree in another field, it will probably take about two years to become a community health nurse. However, if you don’t have any previous education or experience in the nursing field, it could take around 4-6 years.
What Are the Qualities of a Health Nurse?
Some of the qualities that define a community health nurse include:
- Excellent communication skills
- Strong interpersonal skills
- Patience and compassion
- Diligence and attention to detail
- Keen problem-solving skills
- Knowledge of community resources
- Dedication to helping others
- Ability to work independently
These are a few of the qualities that make a successful community health nurse. If you have these qualities, you may be well-suited for a career in this field.