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A background in working or volunteering with a community group or association is helpful to those seeking a career as a public health nurse. Academic qualifications are required, and you must first train as a registered nurse. This usually requires a bachelor's degree, and sometimes postgraduate qualifications are required.
A public health nurse has a passion for helping communities and those from less fortunate backgrounds. This means that someone who is empathetic about the problems in such communities is valued. As many areas are underfunded, public health nurses need to be able to work with the barest of resources. Bilingual nurses are particularly in demand, especially those who can speak both Spanish and English.
Public health nurses can study and become experts in particular fields, such as epidemiology and biostatistics. A focus on environmental health can be useful for career progression. Working for disaster-relief organizations can also build up a special set of skills useful in other roles, including planning, people management and prioritization.