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Public health nurses play key roles in preventing disease while promoting public safety and well-being. They promote better health and safety in communities and help prepare them for and recover from public health incidents, such as natural disasters and disease outbreaks.

Through the Public Health Nursing Scholars program, students will earn two degrees – Bachelor of Public Health (BPH) and Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing (ABSN) – in 4.5 years.

Across the country, the need for nurses is only continuing to grow with more than 300,000 additional nursing jobs expected by 2032. The Kentucky Nursing Association predicted a potential need for 20,000 nurses in the state by 2025. The current median salary for nurses is $37.28 per hour or $77,500 per year.

Jennifer Strange

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Where Does a Public Health Nurse Work?

Government and other public agencies hire public health nurses, and job opportunities are available with agencies and organizations that serve the health needs of a community. Public health nurses might work for a school system to educate students and their parents about hygiene and nutrition or work for a community clinic caring for individuals and promoting disease prevention.

A public health nurse might work within a community or travel to other communities. Some public health nurses work alone, and some work with a team of health care professionals.

Public health nurses also work with nonprofit organizations like the Red Cross or smaller grassroots groups concerned about health, social justice, and education.

“I love that I can impact a large group or a population with my knowledge and skills. It is taking nursing to a larger scale, rather than one or two patients. Nurses play a key role in public health. Having these two programs together shows how important it is to try to fix health issues on the front side as much as possible before people end up in the hospital. We need to intervene much sooner and try to make our communities healthier.”

- Andrea Flinchum, Program Manager for the Healthcare-Associated Infection/Antibiotic Resistance Prevention Program at the Kentucky Department for Public Health