Public health nurses


Public health nurses are employed by the Health Service Executive (HSE) to provide a range of healthcare services in the community. They are usually based in your local health centre and are assigned to cover specific geographical areas. They provide services in schools, health centres, day care, community centres and in people's homes.

Public health nursing teams provide basic nursing care as well as advice and assistance to their patients. They also act as an important point of access for other community care services.

Public health nurses liaise with family doctors (GPs), practice nurses, hospitals, hospices and other health service providers to ensure that the needs of the patient are met by the overall health service.

Public health nurses visit new-born infants and their mothers in their homes within 6 weeks of the birth. They are also involved in the arrangement of school health services. In some areas, public health nurses keep a register of older people and visit them as a matter of course. Sometimes, the same service is also provided for people with disabilities.


The main groups of people that public health nurses provide services to are:

  • Older people who live at home
  • People who are chronically or acutely ill at home and people who are dying at home
  • Children – infant welfare services, child health services and school health services
  • Expectant mothers and mothers who have recently given birth
  • People with disabilities
  • People suffering social deprivation
  • The Traveller community

The HSE may employ Health Care Assistants to assist the public health nursing service. Care assistants provide personal care rather than domestic services but there is some overlap between what they do and what home helps do.

Where to apply

You may be referred to your local public health nurse by your GP, or you may contact the service yourself through your local health centre or through your Local Health Office.

Page edited: 5 December 2019