195676 Public health nurse role with infectious disease, tuberculosis, and vaccine preventable diseases

Monday, November 9, 2009: 9:00 AM

Emily Litt, RN, DNP, PHN , College of Nursing, Brigham Young University, Provo, UT
Linda Olson Keller, DNP, RN, FAAN , School of Nursing, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN
Teresa Garrett, RN MS , Utah Department of Health, Salt Lake City, UT
Public health nursing practice is multifaceted and complex. Lack of data on the typical activities of practicing public health nurses (PHNs) across the United States presents the major barrier to establishing public health nursing workforce standards. The daily activities of a PHN are often vaguely defined and difficult to describe. It is even more difficult to establish if the work of PHNs across the nation are similar or vastly different. After the completion of a task analysis in 2008, results highlighted the work of PHNs in infectious disease, tuberculosis, and vaccine preventable diseases.

PHNs are a vital component of the public health responsibility to prevent and control infectious diseases. Seventy-eight (78) percent of PHNs investigate disease and other health threats. Surveillance is a primary responsibility of PHNs working in disease prevention and control. In addition to conducting surveillance, over 72% of the PHNs report notifiable diseases to local or state health departments. Moreover, 25% of PHNs train disease reporters on case definitions and reporting requirements.

The detection, prevention and control of tuberculosis (TB) are critical public health nursing responsibilities. Eighty-seven (87) percent of PHNs work with tuberculosis. Three-fourths (75%) of PHNs work with clients who have latent or active TB. Almost a quarter of those PHNs who work with TB clients do so on a daily basis: 23% daily; 15% weekly; and 28% monthly.

PHN responsibilities substantially contribute to the prevention and control of vaccine preventable diseases (VPD). Ninety-three (93) percent of PHNs work in immunization clinics and 53% conduct disease investigation for VPD. PHNs also have an essential role in the management of vaccines within the provider community; 82% monitor vaccine temperature and supply.

PHNs are the backbone to the public health system. It is imperative that PHN leaders/managers understand the role staff PHNs play in the areas of infectious disease, tuberculosis, and VPD in order to find solution to the population-based health problems facing the world today.

Learning Objectives:
1. Describe the findings/results of PHN's responses to questions regarding infectious disease, tuberculosis and vaccine preventable diseases from ASTDN Task Analysis. 2. Discuss the importance of understanding the results and the implications on the public health nursing workforce. 3. Identify three ways in which the findings/results can be utilized in practice and academia.

Keywords: Public Health Nursing, Public Health Infrastructure

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: Developed the Delphi surveys used to gather the data. Served as the project assistant on the original grant. Served as co-author on the survey analysis paper. Analyzed the survey data including developing charts, graphs, etc.
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.