Preparing Currently Employed Public Health Nurses for Changes in the Health System

This article describes a core public health nursing curriculum, part of a larger project designed to identify the skills needed by practicing public health workers if they are to successfully fill roles in the current and emerging public health system. Two focus groups of key informants, representing state and local public health nursing practice, public health nursing education, organizations interested in public health and nursing education, federal agencies, and academia, synthesized material from multiple sources and outlined the key content for a continuing education curriculum appropriate to the current public health nursing workforce. The skills identified as most needed were those required for analyzing data, practicing epidemiology, measuring health status and organizational change, connecting people to organizations, bringing about change in organizations, building strength in diversity, conducting population-based intervention, building coalitions, strengthening environmental health, developing interdisciplinary teams, developing and advocating policy, evaluating programs, and devising approaches to quality improvement. Collaboration between public health nursing practice and education and partnerships with other public health agencies will be essential for public health nurses to achieve the required skills to enhance public health infrastructure.

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