Public health nurses who focus on community-based health rather than individual care are in high demand, but it is a nursing field that often is overlooked, writes Melissa Popovich of Ameritech College of Healthcare. Community-based nursing provides help where it is needed most such as rural areas, has a positive effect on health outcomes within communities and can be part of research efforts.
Cathy Rozmus, vice dean of the University of Texas Health Science Center's School of Nursing, said more nurses are seeking graduate training, especially to be nurse practitioners. The school's Doctor of Nursing Practice program also has increased in popularity, Rozmus said.
Regina Cunningham started her career as an intensive care nurse, focused her master's degree studies on nursing administration and advanced in leadership roles to the job of CEO of the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania. Cunningham says mentors are important for nurses' careers, along with developing networks through membership in professional associations, and she also stays up-to-date with the clinical side of the profession.
Nurse coordinators at Commonwealth Care Alliance in Massachusetts help ensure care for elderly residents who qualify for Medicare and Medicaid, 70% of whom have four or more chronic conditions. Registered nurse Cynthia Shelley, who always wanted to work in community health, said this program helps the elderly remain at home by ensuing they get needed support and services at home or on an outpatient basis.
A federal grant of $1.3 million will allow the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Nursing to develop its Success Through Recruitment/Retention, Engagement, and Mentorship for American Indian Students Pursuing Nursing Careers program, which is aimed at recruiting and retaining Native American nursing students. The Wisconsin Center for Nursing has a goal of expanding nursing workforce diversity to match population diversity.
Pinellas County, Fla., plans to hire a licensed practical nurse for each elementary, middle and high school in the school district this fall. About one-third of students have a chronic health condition, such as diabetes or asthma.
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