Over the last year or so since obtaining my PN license and continuing on for my ADN (graduating next week), I have become very interested in community and public health. My dream would be to work at a public health department, CDC, or other community based health clinic to provide preventative measures treatment, and education to at risk teens and underserved areas. After I take and pass the NCLEX-RN, I planned to go to WGU for their online BSN program and hopefully get into a graduate school. For other public health nurses working in the field already, would you agree or disagree that having a MSN with a public health focus would be more beneficial for this specialty or if I decided to just keep my BSN and go the MPH route would the career oppurtunities be the same? Any fed back would be great thank you!
Feb 10, '15
I am a public health nurse working for a public health department (county level) currently. I have my BSN, but no graduate degree. Most of my coworkers also have their BSNs, I can think of only a few that have their MPH or MSN (generally a leadership focus). All program supervisors either have an MSN or MPH though.
I am contemplating returning to school myself for a master's degree. I don't actually know anyone who has done an MSN-PH program.. most nurses with advanced degrees working in public health that I know either have their MPH or some level of preparation as a nurse practitioner or nurse-midwife in the clinic setting.
That's just Colorado though, it might be different where you live.
Last edit by SiwanRN on Feb 10, '15
: Reason: grammar
Feb 18, '15
I feel like MSN is being phased out. Most PHNs I know have BSN. A few of them have MPH, MSN (focus on leadership like the previous poster said, or education or NP). Very few of them even have DNP. I am also in Colorado.
Feb 19, '15
I have nothing of real value to add, but I just felt compelled to post, as another community health nurse in Colorado.
I am working on my MSN in Leadership right now. I am VERY intrigued by CU's new program, a dual DNP/MPH program.
DNP/MPH Dual Degree | UC College of Nursing | University of Colorado Denver
Feb 19, '15
I've looked into that one, and it looks like an amazing program! I was excited to learn about it at Public Health in the Rockies last year. I just wish it was 100% available online, as I can't really afford to stop working. The last classes in the program are on campus, at least at this moment in time.
Feb 25, '15
University of New England has a good program too. Plus it's preety reasonable in cost but I don't think they have the dual degree program. I believe John Hopkins does but there's was like $80k which is rediculous
Mar 10, '15
I just wanna add that the "necessity" of degrees really varies dramatically from state to state and even from county to county. California has a pretty unique system compared to many states. Here as long as you get your BSN you have incredible options and opportunities to move up in your specialty, in management, and in leadership. When you complete as a BSN that includes clinical rotations and clinical experience in community health, you are eligible for a Public Health Nurse certification and can work as a PHN. This is what I did (traditional BSN with PHN certificate - 4 yr degree). And now I am doing all those wonderful things you described! Working with the underserved, low income, low education level populations. I do case management, preventive health education, basic assessments, working long term with pregnant teens, with domestic violence victims, etc. love my job very much and I hope you will get involved in similar work! I honestly hear if you already have your BSN then an MPH becomes less useful. What what I have generally heard, if you had a good BSN program with a good focus on PH, you already know everything they are gonna teach you in the MPH program? Again that's just what I've was tho! Good luck in your journey!
Mar 11, '15
I possess both the BSN and MPH. I am currently employed as a community health nursing consultant at a county health department. I work specifically in epidemiology. My primary responsibilities include employee health and reportable disease/condition investigation. I have worked both as a graduate student and as a volunteer in STIs/HIV/AIDS. If you are interested in remaining in a clinical role within a county or state health department, I would recommend either the MSN or NP. However, if you are interested in an administrative or managerial role, I would recommend the MPH. Regardless of the master's degree that you choose, it is becoming increasingly necessary in larger markets if you want to advance your career. It can also be used to negotiate a higher hourly rate or salary. Please keep in mind that most health departments operate Monday through Friday and, if you live in a part of the country susceptible to natural disasters, you will be called upon to respond to them. I am enjoying learning about unusual infectious diseases (including Ebola and measles), but I find that working five days a week (and a fair amount of down time) is NOT for me. So, I may return to the bedside...in, out, and DONE!
Aug 24, '16
Your job sounds fascinating! I would love to eventually land a job like yours.
I am currently trying to decide between an MPH degree and an MSN degree with an emphasis in public health, whose classes seem to closely resemble most of the MPH programs I have looked at. I currently have my RN, BSN. Do you think that an MSN degree with an emphasis on public health is as marketable as an MPH degree? Although I am most interested in public health, I'd love to keep my foot in the door to do nursing education. I appreciate any insight you can offer.
Jan 11, '17
Hi klone, I am also interested in DNP/MPH Dual Degree | UC College of Nursing | University of Colorado Denver
. I was wondering if you have applied or have any more information about the program? I am working on my FNP now, but would be interested to apply in a few years. I don't qualify for WICHE as I am on the east coast, but if I were to move, it would be quite a wonderful investment. Thanks and look fwd to hearing from you!
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