Community health nurses who are sometimes called "public health nurses" work in schools community health clinics or other public health settings. In some cases they visit homes of people in their assigned community in order to provide health care and advice about disease prevention.
Typically they work with underserved vulnerable and low-income patients some of whom lost their health insurance when they lost jobs. Often the community health nurse is the only health care provider these patients see.
In addition to treating patients with medical problems they play an important role in educating the community about sanitary practices and especially about prenatal and pediatric care.
The website Medi-smart.com recommends that individuals who plan to pursue a career in community health nursing need to not only be tolerant but also empathetic with the patients many of whom are underprivileged and may not have access to bathing facilities. Patients may need counseling on birth control methods and how to use protection against HIV.
The website Allnursingschools.com says that community health nurses need to have a bachelor's of science in Nursing (BSN) from an accredited school and a registered nursing license. Some have master's degrees in community health.
Although it is not a strict requirement they can become certified once they have worked as registered nurses for two years. There are numerous job opportunities in this field especially in large cities. Community health nurses earn an average of $65000 a year.
In addition they are usually entitled to benefits such as medical insurance and paid vacations and holidays.