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How big is the "Public Health" portion of your job?


Specializes in School Nursing. Has 8 years experience.

We all know that the School Nurse is part clinician and part public health nurse. How large a role in your practice is the public health part? Would you like it to be bigger? Smaller? What are you doing to expand this part of your practice, if anything. I am curious because although I would like to take on more of this role in my practice, I find myself bogged down by the day-to-day clinical things. And, it is difficult when you are the only nurse in the school to take on things like starting new programs, etc. without help.

I also ask because I am still kicking the idea around of different Master's programs, and I stumbled on a MSN in Public Health Admin offerred online through U of South Alabama. :) I like the idea of doing my Master's in this area and trying to expand how much of my time I spend in this area (good luck with that, right?)


Specializes in Community & Mental Health, Sp Ed nursing. Has 3 years experience.

Hi Purple:

From what I remember Public Health is about epidemiology, statistics, and communicable diseases. If that's your thing then go for it!!!! I'm suffering through a research statistics class that had a 4.5 hour mid term. The instructor took pity on us and broke the final up so we have 2, 3 hour tests. I would be happy to never see another stats class again after this.

I'm interested in more community health. I signed up to learn how to be a diabetes educator and I'm in a nurse educator MSN program.

Great question. The school nurse role doesn't always seem very clear cut. I understand wanting to do more than just day-to-day taking care of things but not having the time or resources to do that. Good luck!

Public health is a huge portion of the school nurse job: prevention of illness and injury and health promotion:

- hearing and vision screening

- BMI screening

- handwashing

- health education

- surveillance and reporting of communicable diseases

- immunization enforcement and referral

- school located vaccine clinics

- referrals for SCHIP

- disaster preparedness

- environmental concerns such as indoor air quality, green cleaning

- injury prevention

- AED and CPR

- promoting school connectedness and a safe and healthy school climate

- bullying prevention

- seatbelt and car safety

- smoking cessation

- staff health: weight loss, etc

- advocating for policies that promote health: school nutrition, physical activity, recess, safe routes to school, sun protection, etc

I would bet if you added up all of the time and effort you expend on these activities it would be well over half of your time