Public Health Nursing at the Fairfax County Health Department
Public health nursing is generally the practice of promoting health and preventing disease for population groups using knowledge from nursing, social, and public health sciences. The public health nurse may function as a nurse clinician, nurse epidemiologist, nurse educator, nurse environmentalist or nurse administrator in a variety of settings such as schools, clinics, homes and senior centers.
Here are snapshots of just some of areas available in which to practice public health nursing at the Fairfax County Health Department:
Public Health Nurse (PHN) – Maternal Child Health
The goal of the Maternal Child Health program is to reduce infant mortality and morbidity and to promote the health of women, infants and children (WIC) in our community. Clinic and field services are provided for our medically indigent target populations and included pregnancy testing, maternity clinic, care coordination and early intervention for infants at risk for developmental delays. Public health nurses provide medical management, health education, anticipatory guidance and health referrals.
Public Health Nurse (PHN) – Adult Day Health Care
Public Health Nurses provide care in Adult Day Health Care centers located throughout the county. A Center Nurse Coordinator is responsible for the overall day-to-day operation of the center according to State licensing regulations and Health Department policies and procedures. He/she supervises the staff and conducts admission assessment conferences. A center nurse monitors the health status of the participants and provides ongoing assessments and nursing interventions. The center nurse is responsible for administering any medications or treatments that are prescribed by the participant's physician.
Public Health Nurse (PHN) – Communicable Disease Unit
The role of the Public Health Nurse assigned to the Communicable Disease Unit is to provide communicable disease control services to diverse populations including outreach, case finding, health promotion, prevention, education and surveillance activates. Additionally, the PHN serves as a resource to the staff by providing communicable disease/epidemiology guidance and support to those PHNs who are working with high risk or complex clients/families.
Public Health Nurse (PHN) – School Health Program
The role of the Public Health Nurse assigned to the School Health Program is that of liaison, health educator, case manager, advocate and consultant to the local public school system. The PHN provides community based public health services to promote and protect the health of school aged children through early identification of students at risk, determination of health barriers which impede an optimal learning opportunity for all students and the development of health plans which focus on students’ needs and the prevention and control of communicable disease in an effort to establish and support healthy lifestyles.
Public Health Nurse (PHN) – Tuberculosis Care Coordination
The Public Health Nurse working in the Tuberculosis Program utilizes current nursing standards and established agency guidelines to determine/provide appropriate case management and/or care coordination for individuals, families, groups and/or communities affected by tuberculosis. The nurse identifies client needs through physical assessment, home visits, health screening, available history, observation, assessment tools and/or community and agency referrals as indicated and coordinates with other agencies or resources to develop interagency case management related services or programs to improve continuity of care.
Fairfax County offers opportunities for advancement in many positions, including public health nursing. Grades and position classifications for each particular position are determined based on the education and experience required, among other factors. More information about the county’s classification system and compensation plans is available on the Department of Human Resources webpages. Here are examples of public health nursing job classifications: