Having an interest in healthcare is a rollercoaster ride; there’s only so much you can learn. And so, thriving undergraduates with a passion for medicine have multiple career and educational opportunities to explore.
In the process, it is normal for one to doubt choosing a healthcare career, particularly when you have to choose between nursing and public health. Before bringing out the measuring beam and assessing each program’s benefits, every individual needs to understand today’s healthcare system’s needs.
Many individuals step into this field because they possess a strong desire to change their local community for the better, improve others’ well-being, and, most importantly, save lives. The healthcare and medical industry comprise a massive workforce, including various occupations and services that offer everything from diagnostic efforts to rehabilitation solutions, healing preventative services, and more.
One of the primary considerations that will determine where you will go in your medical field is the degrees you earned. If you reach for a master’s in public health, you will aim to make sure that your community’s people receive the health procedures and medical care they need. On the flip side, a master’s in nursing, MSN, will put you on the border of patient interaction. Eventually, you will be dealing with patients regularly while helping them overcome injury and illness.
Yes, you hold power to make the decision. It’s normal to have blurry thoughts because both of these fields have so much to offer. But after reading this article, all possible knots will get untied.
To help you decide, we’ve managed to clear out some confusion regarding an MSN and MPH.
Table of Content
PUBLIC HEALTH VS. NURSING
Becoming a nurse isn’t child’s play. Nurses must gain clinical experience and medical knowledge, which other public health jobs do not require. Nurses administer medicine, work closely with other members, and, most importantly, patient care. On the other hand, public health professionals prioritize reducing exposures that may lead to patients seeking a nurse’s supervision.
Despite being two different professions, public health specialists and nurses can work in the same environments. Registered nurses mostly work in government and hospital settings. These work settings often employ public health professionals, including those working as environmental health specialists or epidemiologists. But that is not all because the public health vs medicine debate has many more areas that require unlocking. So let’s proceed with it.
Coursework builds nursing students to use clinical experience and evidence to make decisions regarding patient care. Candidates also learn how to implement the practice of nursing to improve health in communities. Hence, nursing students may attend classes that overlap with the public health curriculum. It includes Science of Human Nutrition, Biostatistics for Evidence-Based Practice, and Health Care Policy. Some nursing programs even contain general health-concerned subjects, typically for those studying for a Master of Science in Nursing degree.
Similar to medicine, MSN candidates must take general science courses in chemistry, biology, and anatomy. A statistics course is required, as well. Moreover, some introductory courses may include:
- Human Physiology and Anatomy
- Introductory Statistics
- Introduction to Biology
Some courses prepare candidates to earn their licensure and offer patient care, such as Acute and Chronic Illness Management, Nursing Pharmacology, and Foundations of Nursing Practice. Based on the program, exact courses may differ.
Furthermore, public health focuses on treating the population rather than an individual. However, it is possible for nursing and public health courses to experience an overlap. At that point, do not question your degree.
LICENSE AND DEGREE REQUIREMENTS
The minutest educational requirements differ between nursing and public health. The majority of public health jobs demand a master’s or bachelor’s degree. For instance, a safety and health engineer must have a bachelor’s degree to get an entry-level position. To work as a licensed/registered nurse, candidates must pass a licensure exam. To take the NCLEX-RN exam, candidates must apply with the country’s regulatory board of nursing to get licensed and satisfy the state’s requirements.
Furthermore, every state has a unique requirement. So, the minimum degree requirements may include having an associate’s degree in nursing. However, candidates holding a master’s degree and passing the nursing exam can apply for nursing leadership positions.
Furthermore, when compared with public health, the industry considers nursing to be a more regulated field. Registered nurses must apply to the nursing regulatory body where they get licensed. Public health specialists can receive voluntary certificates throughout institutions. However, some public health jobs do not demand licensure. There are specific public health certifications representing working professionals’ credibility and competency, but most are not essential.
OPPORTUNITIES FOR MPH CANDIDATES
Those who move towards a master’s in public health enjoy a vast range of career options. For instance, you might receive an opportunity in epidemiology, healthcare administration, health service administration, international health, biomedical practice, or community health. The salary for a professional with an MPH degree will depend on the job’s nature. For example, environmental health analysts may earn a yearly quota of $37,000, whereas a public health advisor could go higher than $83,000.
OPPORTUNITIES FOR MSN CANDIDATES
Once you receive an MSN degree with a passion for serving the public, you should find numerous options to uplift your career. You may want to expand your experiences and apply for a manager’s position since many MSN programs include courses containing communication and leadership elements. A master’s degree in nursing allows you to make a groundbreaking impact on nursing’s future within the area around you.
If you love to interact with people and have a soft spot for caring, you can apply for a nursing or medicine career. On the other hand, if you want to research health problems (across the globe) and prevent diseases, the route of public health awaits.
Just remember, regardless of which path you choose, you will still have the opportunity to make peoples’ lives better. Our job was to present you with a few facts that’ll help you determine which career fits you best.