Having a well-prepared public health workforce affects the ability of state and local health departments to serve the populations that rely on them. Although comprehensive data about the public health workforce are lacking, there is general consensus that public health nurses constitute the largest professional segment of the public health workforce, and that they assume a variety of essential roles. These include providing clinical care, health planning, surveillance, management, and more.
The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) established the Future of Public Health Nursing initiative last year to identify and implement strategies to increase the skills and ability of public health nurses to meet the challenges of a rapidly changing public health and health care environment.
To advance this knowledge, RWJF convened a Forum on the Future of Public Health Nursing that brought together stakeholders to share insights into the challenges and opportunities facing the public health nursing workforce. A report outlining the proceedings of that 2012 forum is now available online.
In coming months, the initiative will release a National Public Health Enumeration and Characterization of the Public Health Nursing Workforce.