184503 Enhancing epidemiological skills in public health nurses

Monday, October 27, 2008: 12:50 PM

Laura Anderko, RN PhD , Nursing, University of Wisconsin Milwaukee, Milwaukee, WI
Elizabeth Fayram, RN PhD , Nursing, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, Milwaukee, WI
Background: Healthy People 2010 underscored the need for every public health program to have health professionals who are competent to assess and respond to community health needs, and supported continuing education as a means to develop competencies in the essential public health services. Public health nurses require skills in the systematic analysis, interpretation, and use of health data, necessary to identify health status, plan programs, and evaluate outcomes. The University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee (UWM) College of Nursing (CON) was awarded funding through the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) to provide continuing education in the area of epidemiology for public health nurses within rural Wisconsin.

Method: A four-day epidemiology course, Applied Epidemiology for Public Health Nurses, was designed through a partnership between the UWM CON, the Midwest Center for Life-Long Learning in Public Health, as well as a number of rural local public health departments. The work plan for the development and evaluation of the course utilized the Kellogg Logic Model as a framework which guided program objectives, actions, and outcomes. The objectives for the course (offered in face to face and online formats) were to: a) Assess data by using epidemiological and biostatistical principles; b) Apply epidemiological methods to plan, implement, and evaluate community health programs and c) Use epidemiological methods to critically evaluate evidence used in public health decision making. The course addressed many public health competencies including analytic/assessment skills, policy development/program planning skills, and basic public health science skills.

Results: A total of 32 public health nurses participated in course which provided 22 nursing contact hours. Evaluations reflected a high level of learning and satisfaction in both formats (Overall ranking: 3.8 on a 4.0 scale).

Conclusions: Findings support using these teaching methods and strategies for supporting workforce development of public health nurses in the field of epidemiology, especially in hard to reach, rural communities.

Learning Objectives:
1.Describe teaching content and methodologies for both the face-to-face and online course formats. 2.Explore how epidemiological knowledge and skills for public health nurses were increased through a continuing education course. 3.Analyze outcomes and implications of an applied epidemiology course to evidence-based practice of public health nurses.

Keywords: Education, Epidemiology

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I teach epidemiology and have taught the course described in the abstract
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.