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Public health nurses are qualified and registered nurses or midwives who have then chosen to gain experience or undertake training to specialise in areas such as health protection or sexual health.
Training and qualifications required
Only trained and registered nurses can apply for a role as a public health nurse. Entry criteria vary between employers and specific positions, but experience or further qualifications in community nursing, health visiting, occupational health, infection prevention and control or practice nursing may be an advantage.
Expected working hours and salary range
Public health nurses working for the NHS will usually work at around bands 6-7 of Agenda for Change (AfC) or equivalent local authority pay scales and work standard hours of 37.5 per week. There may be exceptions to this depending on the nature of the role, for example evening and weekend work to increase access to services.
Desirable skills and values
As a public health nurse, you'll be passionate about public health. You'll have excellent communication skills, project management and analytical skills. You'll be able to work across multi-agency or multi-disciplinary settings to engage, develop and sustain networks and partnerships. You'll be a good problem solver and have an ability to respond to sudden unexpected demands.
You might decide to follow an academic career pathway, working in higher education or research, or you might decide to take up a senior practitioner or managerial role. You may also choose to qualify as a specialist community public health nurse (SCPHN).