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Why Public Health Nursing Is a Growing Field

A changing world and population is creating a greater need for public health nursing professionals.

By 2020, the U.S. will need 250,000 new public health workers.* That’s a significant shortfall in such a vital field, but public health nurses can help meet this need.

Typically armed with a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) degree, public health nurses have the knowledge and skills necessary to serve in a wide range of public health roles, from program development to community education to policy advocacy and implementation. If you are an RN with an interest in population health and caring for communities, enrolling in a master’s in nursing program with a public health nursing specialization can put you in the position to help meet the expanding need for public health workers.

Why Public Health Nursing Is a Growing Field

Why is there such a need? Here are a few of the circumstances driving the shortfall of public health professionals.

A Growing Population

The U.S. population is expected to grow by 100 million people between now and 2060. That means, every year, millions of people are being added to our communities. How will we keep that many people healthy? Obviously, we’ll need more medical professionals, but we’ll also need more public health nurses who can put the kinds of programs and policies in place that can help people avoid illness and disease. In this way, we can decrease the need for acute and long-term care and better serve the health needs of everyone.

An Aging Population

By 2030, one in five Americans is expected to be ages 65 and over. Given that older adults typically face more health complications than younger adults, an aging population will stress our healthcare system. However, through strong public health education, programs, and services, we can decrease health risks within communities and help aging adults make healthy decisions that prolong their healthiest years. This, in turn, will help alleviate the stresses on our healthcare system.

New Threats to Public Health

Globalization is changing the world and the nature of public health threats. In the coming years and decades, we’re likely to face such health risks as:

  • Pandemic diseases
  • Climate change, including droughts, floods, and other natural disasters
  • Overpopulation that causes famine, conflict for resources, housing shortfalls, and sanitation problems
  • Deteriorating infrastructure
  • Insufficient healthcare funding and access

Fortunately, public health nurses can help put in place the programs and policies we need to mitigate such threats and preserve and improve the health of communities on a local and global scale.

How Can You Earn Your MSN Degree With a Public Health Nursing Specialization?

Entering the public health nursing field is more convenient than you might think. Thanks to online learning, you don’t have to go to a traditional nursing school or take time out of your workday to complete a master’s degree in nursing. Instead, you can enroll in an online MSN program and study from home on a schedule that’s designed for those working full time.

Through the MSN program at Walden University, you can specialize in public health nursing and gain the knowledge you need for the best public health nursing jobs. Plus, Walden’s MSN program allows you to choose an RN to MSN option, which can help you earn your master’s in public health nursing faster. This, along with Walden’s CCNE accreditation, a 100% doctorally prepared teaching faculty, and partnerships with over 300 leading healthcare employers and associations, has helped make Walden number one in Master of Science in Nursing graduates in the U.S.

The nation and world need public health nurses to help our growing and aging population stay healthy. If you want to be a part of this vital field, the online public health nursing program at Walden can give you the knowledge you need to succeed.

Walden University is an accredited institution offering an online Master of Science in Nursing with a specialization in Public Health Nursing program. Expand your career options and earn your degree in a convenient, flexible format that fits your busy life.

* T. D. Johnson, Shortage of U.S. Public Health Workers Projected to Worsen: About 250,000 New Workers Needed, Nations Health, on the Internet at

† S. L. Colby and J. M. Ortman, Projections of the Size and Composition of the U.S. Population: 2014 to 2060, U.S. Census Bureau, on the Internet as a PDF at

‡Source: National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) IPEDS database. Retrieved July 2017, using CIP code 51.3801 (Registered Nursing/Registered Nurse). Includes 2016 preliminary data.

Walden University is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission,