198735 Developing and diversifying the public health nursing workforce: Views of on-line methods

Monday, November 9, 2009: 3:10 PM

Marilyn E. O'Rourke, DNP, RN , Department of Community, Systems, and Mental Health Nursing, Rush University, College of Nursing, Chicago, IL
Pamela Levin, PhD, APHN , Department of Community, Systems, and Mental Health Nursing, Rush University College of Nursing, Chicago, IL
Even before the current recession, public health agencies were struggling to develop their workforce through financial support of continuing and formal educational programs. In 2008, a university college of nursing conducted a national survey of state and county public health agencies (n=44). While 61% of agencies reimburse for both continuing education and college tuition, only a few reimbursed a substantial part of the costs. All reimbursement depended on available funding. This places public health organizations at a disadvantage competing for nurses who are motivated to develop their skills and competencies. In addition, the profession of nursing lacks adequate numbers of nurses from underrepresented racial/ethnic groups, who reflect the increasingly diverse society in which they practice.

Online education affords nurses the opportunity to continue working full-time, and thus has the potential to address some of the geographic, financial, and diversity barriers that may prevent a wide variety of public health nurses from furthering their education. In 2008, this same college conducted phone interviews of 12 Black, 8 Hispanic, and 5 Caucasian nursing students who provided their perspectives of the advantages and disadvantages of on-line course delivery. They also described key characteristics that students need to succeed in online course work. This presentation will discuss the results of both the employer and student surveys, with an emphasis on how to meet the needs of both groups through online graduate education. Public health agencies could use this information to determine how best to use limited funds to provide ongoing education to their staff.

Learning Objectives:
1. Discuss at least one barrier to graduate education for public health nurses. 2. Identify at least one minority student perception of the advantages and disadvantage of online course delivery. 3. Describe at least one minority student perception of personal student characteristics predictive of success in an on-line program.

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: Conducted the focused interviews the presentation focuses on; taught online for more than 8 years; DNP project focused on minority student recruitment; certified Advanced Public Health Nurse
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.