The size, makeup, and preparation of the governmental public health system’s workforce greatly affects the ability of agencies to protect and improve the health of people in their jurisdictions. Although comprehensive data on the overall public health workforce are lacking, there is consensus that public health nurses (PHNs) constitute the largest professional segment of the public health workforce, and that they assume a wide variety of roles in health departments, including providing clinical care to individuals, health planning, surveillance, management, and serving as directors at the local and state levels.
Multiple forces are influencing the context of public health and the many roles public health nurses play. These include:
In February 2012, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) convened a wide range of stakeholders, including leaders and experts representing the public health workforce, to gain insights into these issues. The result was the Forum on the Future of Public Health Nursing. This report describes the results from the Forum process, including surveys and interviews conducted prior to the Forum, material covered during it, and the priority recommendations of those who attended, gathered through a survey conducted afterward.