Nurses at the Center of Public Health
Nurses continue to change the world’s healthcare, with an approach that is both personal and holistic. Their attention to detail, dedication to wellbeing and capacity to see each patient in the context of their life makes them not only incredible assets to patients’ health today, but to our society’s health moving forward.
As our aging population struggles with more types of chronic disease and health crises, our need for a more interdisciplinary approach to care is increasingly growing. As caregivers, teachers, change agents, leaders, advocates and communicators with everyone from the patient and patient’s family to the lab techs and physicians, nurses have the unique opportunity to make an impact in the public health field – to help not only treat diseases, but more importantly, prevent them.
In its simplest form, public health is the science of protecting and improving the health of families and communities through promoting healthy lifestyles, disease and injury prevention, and detecting and controlling diseases. It is more critical than ever to shift from the notion of improving health and healthcare to thinking about a broader vision of building a culture of health and wellness. The specific training nurses undergo makes them distinctively capable of understanding both the smallest details and the bigger picture of patient care.
Nurses with a master’s in public health (MPH) degree are already making lasting impacts on the health of their communities – and seeing these continue on a global scale. They’ve created courses for nursing schools in third-world countries, served as health and wellness educators globally, built community centers in low-income communities, worked toward stress prevention in the workplace, managed healthy eating programs in school systems and built communities for refugees. The opportunities for nurses with an MPH to make a lasting impact are endless.