What is a Public Health Nurse (PHN)?
Public health nursing is a specialty practice that focuses on population health in an effort to prevent disease and disability and promote wellness. Public health nurses define, assess and help create solutions to current public health concerns. They evaluate emerging treatments and policies that can help change the public health landscape and reduce disease and illness.
Why Get Your Master’s in Nursing – Public Health at GCU?
Grand Canyon University's Master of Science in Nursing with an Emphasis in Public Health Nursing program prepares graduates to be actively involved in the coordination, planning, development, implementation and evaluation of health programs and services. It is designed for nurses interested in disease-prevention and community and population health.
Graduates of the MSN – Public Health program provide population-based care that is respectful of human dignity and patient autonomy in accordance with Christian principles. They can recognize the unique role patients' spirituality and their own spirituality play in health care decision-making processes and management of care. Students are prepared to advocate for ethical and just health care policies and promote public health and wellness in efforts to reduce health disparities and improve the quality of life for diverse communities and populations.
Public Health Nurse Qualifications
Competencies for public health nursing include:
- Mastery of interprofessional collaboration
- Health policy and advocacy
- Population assessment
- Prevention strategies
- Program planning and evaluation
Public health nurses work with individuals and families that make up communities and the systems that affect those communities. They work in a variety of settings including health departments, schools, homes, community health centers, clinics, correctional facilities and worksites.
Earn an Online* Accredited Nursing Degree
Students in the MSN with an emphasis in public health nursing program are exposed to content and knowledge from both nursing and public-health fields. They acquire a heightened understanding of public policies, theories, principles and their application to real-life cases. As part of the program, students complete an evidence-based practice project tailored to the student's area of specific interest. The MSN program also culminates with a practicum experience where students will learn to apply public-health nursing concepts and skills in a public health setting.
*Not 100% online. GCU’s MSN programs require in-person practicum and clinical experiences with a preceptor.
Program Core Courses
This course examines nursing theory and the role of ethics for advanced registered nurses within the Christian worldview and through a leadership perspective focused on improving health care outcomes. Students explore the moral/ethical responsibilities and legal and regulatory obligations of advanced registered nurses in health promotion and disease prevention. Students also review evidence-based practice (EBP) literature and the research process with application to their program of study and learn to navigate scholarly EBP literature, resources, and guidelines.
This course examines the role of leadership, organizational science, policy, and informatics in supporting safe, high quality, cost-effective patient care within interprofessional, dynamic health care environments. Students explore various organizational relationships within health care systems and prepare to participate in the design of cost-effective, innovative models of care delivery and practice change proposals. Professional leadership theories and how they shape the nurse leader in such things as collaboration, conflict resolution, decision making, and negotiation are introduced. Students discuss change management theories and evaluate the ethical, social, legal, economic, and political implications of practice change and health care informatics along with strategies for managing human, fiscal, and health care resources in a variety of organizational systems. Students also examine the uses of patient care, information system, and communication technologies and discuss the design, implementation, and evaluation of electronic health record systems and clinical decision support systems.
In this course, students examine the process of scientific inquiry, knowledge generation, utilization, and dissemination of evidence into advanced nursing practice in order to propose quality improvement initiatives that advance the delivery of safe, high-quality care for patient populations. Students critically evaluate evidence, including scientific findings from the biopsychosocial fields, epidemiology, biostatistics, genetics, and genomics, and apply levels of evidence and theoretical frameworks to design culturally appropriate clinical prevention interventions and population-based care that reduce risks, prevent disease, and promote health and well-being. Students also consider strategies to evaluate health policy and advocacy issues, the state of health care delivery, patient-centered care, and ethical principles related to health beliefs, health promotion, and risk reduction for diverse populations. Students apply these strategies to work towards recognizing gaps in nursing and health care knowledge, identifying potential solutions or innovations for those gaps, planning and implementing practice changes, and evaluating the outcomes in order to improve practice. Prerequisite: NUR-513.
This course provides an opportunity for students to complete their evidence-based practice (EBP) project proposal addressing a problem, issue, or concern in their specialty area of professional practice. Students previously identified a problem amenable to a research-based intervention and searched the literature. In this course, students propose a solution, explore implementation considerations and various evaluation methodologies, complete the project proposal by developing a plan to implement the solution into the intended practice area, and design an evaluation plan that assesses the EBP project proposal’s intended outcome(s). Prerequisite: NUR-550.
This course examines the evolving landscape of public health nursing, including the various roles and settings for public health nursing practice. Students learn about the influence of social, behavioral, and cultural factors on health. Students appraise theoretical frameworks useful for understanding and improving quality and community and population health while considering influential developments in the field and the regulatory, legal, and ethical guidelines that inform practice.
This course introduces epidemiological principles and methods to study, quantify, and assess the distribution and determinants of disease among populations. Students examine the influence of biological and social factors on population health, including epigenetics, infectious disease, and foodborne illnesses. Students evaluate epidemiologic study designs and apply measures of association as methods for determining relationships. Prerequisite: PUB-520 or PHN-600.
This course introduces students to the application and interpretation of data to assess, design, and justify public health programs. Students learn the basics of data management and statistical analysis using real-life public health data sets. Students consider the implications of crafting a clear research question, identifying available and quality data, applying appropriate data analysis methods, and effectively communicating the results. Research standards and ethics are emphasized in contributing to evidence-based public health practice. Prerequisite: PUB-540.
In this course, students closely examine concepts of population health in order to design health promotion and disease prevention interventions for diverse populations. Beginning with the selection of appropriate models for population-based interventions, students assess a population and propose the most appropriate intervention based on available evidence. Students also consider the financial, regulatory, legal, and ethical aspects of population-based interventions and methods for evaluating outcomes. Prerequisite: PUB-550.
In this course, students synthesize the impact of globalization on community health and the complexities of partnering with communities for development among resource-constrained populations. Students review the history of international public health efforts and theories underpinning current global health initiatives. There is an emphasis on the role of faith and ministry-based organizations in global health advocacy and initiatives. Students examine the challenges of building real collaboration across public, private, and local entities, and explore best practices for the integration of faith-based and professional public health principles to establish sustainable local development. Prerequisite: PUB-540.
This course provides students with the opportunity to apply public health nursing knowledge and skills in various public health settings. Students formulate public health assessments and interventions for improving quality health outcomes for populations in their selected setting while enhancing their leadership and collaboration skills with professionals in the field. Practicum/field experience hours: 150. Prerequisites: Successful completion of all courses in the program of study and clearance from the Office of Field Experience.