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Ohio: Outlook and Challenges for Public Health Nurses

Higher Education Articles October 6, 2013

What does a Public Health Nurse do?

An Ohio public health nurse takes care of individual patients, but also works to expand access to healthcare and knowledge about health throughout an entire community. The role of these nurses may vary depending upon where they work, but most of these professionals work at community health clinics.

These nurses will often work with uninsured people who may not have the education or access to healthcare that many other people have.

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

In order to become an Ohio public health nurse, you must first become a registered nurse. This designation can be earned after getting an associate degree or a bachelor degree in nursing and passing the NCLEX-RN (National Council Licensure Exam for Registered Nurses).

To work as a public health nurse, job applicants may want to possess other skills including the following:

•Open minded attitude toward cultural diversity
•Passion, organization, and creativity
•Ability to speak more than one language or the willingness to learn a second language
•Acceptance of low-income people

Ohio: Community Health Center Basics

Number of federally-supported health centers 32
Total Patients 455,669
Seasonal Farm worker Patients 4,184
Homeless Patients 22,477

Ohio: Community Health Center Clientele Data

Category Health Care Center Population State Population U.S. Population
Percent at or below 100% of Poverty 72% 19% 21%
Percent at or below 200% of Poverty 94% 38% 40%
Percent Uninsured 34% 14% 16%

Ohio: Health Challenges

An Ohio public health nurse will face unique challenges, but they will also encounter several positive things. On a positive note, these nurses will get to work in a state where the vast majority of diabetes patients have their symptoms under control and where most asthma patients have their symptoms under control.

However, on the challenging side, an Ohio public health nurse will also see that nearly ten percent of babies are born with low birth weight, and they must find ways to work to change this statistic.

Ohio: 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
Ohio 72.70% 69.87% 65.00% 9.14% 31.00% 45.86% 85.55%
U.S. Average 70.9% 70.0% 63.3% 7.4% 43.8% 57.8% 69.1%

What the Numbers Mean

Diabetes Control: The percentage of adults, age 18 to 75, with diabetes who have their blood sugar under control, defined as an HbA1c under 9 percent.

Timely Prenatal Care: The percentage of pregnant women receiving prenatal care in the first trimester.

Hypertension Control: The percentage of adults, age 18 to 85, with hypertension who have their blood pressure under control, defined as under 140/90.

Low Birth Weight: The percentage of babies born with birth weight below 2,500 grams.

Childhood Immunization: The percentage of children who receive 10 federally recommended vaccines by 2 years of age.

Cervical Cancer Screening: The percentage of women, age 24 to 64, with at least one Pap test in the prior three years.

Asthma Therapy: The percentage of patients age 5 to 40 who have persistent asthma who receive asthma drugs.

Job Outlook for a Public Health Nurse

The job outlook for an Ohio public health nurse is positive. In fact, the job outlook for registered nurses in general is positive. This industry is growing faster than normal and is expected to add nearly 26% more jobs over the next decade. The earning potential is also good as the median yearly salary is just under $65,000 for most registered nurses.

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