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Maryland: Outlook and Challenges for Public Health Nurses

Higher Education Articles October 6, 2013

What does a Public Health Nurse do?

A Maryland Public Health Nurse monitors trends in the healthcare industry as well as identifies the risk factors that pertain to their local area. They also help determine what the top priorities are to perform interventions on behalf of the community’s health concerns.

Public Health nurses treat at risk and vulnerable residents and run local healthcare programs, as well. They are also responsible for starting campaigns to educate the community on issues in healthcare.

What Education, Professional Experience do you need to become a Public Health Nurse?

Becoming a Public Health Nurse requires candidates to obtain an associate’s degree or a bachelor’s degree. The average nursing student takes two years to earn an associate’s degree, while those earning a bachelor’s degree usually take an extra 15 to 18 months. The requirements for a bachelor’s degree in nursing vary depending on the school.

Students must earn between 58-78 credits for an associate’s degree and must accumulate 36 units for a bachelor of science. Students must accumulate between six and 21 extra units obtained from support courses. A bachelor degree in nursing candidate must earn 120 units to graduate.

Maryland: Challenges a Public Health Nurse May Face

Community health centers operate as non-profit 501 corporations. Their goal is to provide mental, medical and dental health services, in areas declared underserved. The three types of Federally Qualified Health Centers are Tribal, Homeless, Migrant and Community.

There are several requirements these health centers must meet, including compliance of federal reporting requirements, having a Board of Directors and offering a sliding fee scale. Below is the number of Maryland residents that use community health centers.

Maryland: Community Health Center Basics

Number of federally-supported health centers 16
Total Patients 266,172
Seasonal Farm worker Patients 1,552
Homeless Patients 12,338

Maryland: Community Health Center Clientele Data

Category Health Care Center Population State Population U.S. Population
Percent at or below 100% of Poverty 60% 15% 21%
Percent Uninsured 23% 13% 16%

Maryland: Health Challenges

The residents in the state of Maryland face many health challenges. At health centers throughout the state, 64.17% of diabetic patients have their blood sugar level under control, and 64.36% of patients suffering from hypertension have it under control. In total, only 67.27% of all pregnant women living in Maryland receive prenatal care during their first trimester of pregnancy.

Unfortunately, 11.10% of all pregnant Maryland residents give birth to a baby with a low birth weight. 64.4% of Maryland women between the ages of 24 and 64 have had one or more Pap smear tests in the last three years.

Maryland: What Public Health Nurses can expect at Community Health Centers

Diabetes Control Timely Prenatal Care Hypertension Control Low Birth Weight Childhood Immunization Cervical Cancer Screening Asthma Therapy
Maryland 64.17% 67.27% 64.36% 11.10% 43.33% 64.66% 85.99%
U.S. Average 70.9% 70.0% 63.3% 7.4% 43.8% 57.8% 69.1%

Job Outlook for a Public Health Nurse

A public health nurse can expect to make an average of $64,690 per year. Between now and 2020 the need for public health nurses is expected to increase by 26%, meaning some 711,900 people will gain jobs as public health nurses during that time. The minimum education needed to become a public health nurse is an associate’s degree.

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In 2017, workers with a bachelor's degree or higher had almost twice as much
median earnings per week than workers with only a high school diploma*.
*Bureau of Labor Statistics

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