Primarily working in clinics that serve low-income and homeless demographics, as well as the underinsured and uninsured, community health nurses (CHNs) play integral roles in caring for vulnerable populations.

CHNs often become the voice and face of health care for low sociodemograpic segments of the population, as many of these individuals encounter few health care professionals. It is often up to the CHN to provide as comprehensive a health care program for these populations as possible, so an innate sense of compassion is an asset to those in this job.

CHNs must have either a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) or a registered nurse (RN) degree earned through an accredited nursing program. The daily work routine of a CHN usually includes administering immunizations to home-bound clients; referring clients to appropriate community agencies; providing follow-up care in client homes; and educating vulnerable populations about their health, with a particular emphasis on limiting the transmission of communicable diseases. Maternity, infant and child health are other areas of primary focus.

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“Although some of the activities of the CHNS are the same, each CHNS has the ability to adapt their services according to the needs of the particular school and community,” Nancy Green, BSN, RN, CHNS, told Clinical Advisor.

There will be a 22% increase in employment opportunities for CHNs from 2008 to 2018, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Jennifer Leeper is a freelance medical writer living in Kansas City, Mo.