229816 Planning for a future public health nursing workforce: Recruitment, retention, and succession

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Karen Ouzts, RN, PhD , School of Nursing, Walden University, Cheyenne, WY
A recent survey conducted in 2008 by the state's Department of Employment revealed 50% of public health nurses (PHNs) plan to retire within the next 5 years. In addition, many of the nurses retiring are taking higher levels of education and many years of experience with them when they go. State Nursing Service took a proactive stance and developed a statewide recruitment, retention, and succession plan for PHNs at all levels. The project plan involved developing specific student experiences, expert preceptors, and a succession plan for all levels of nursing in the state. Students often come to PHN without much planning or collaboration with faculty. PHNs do their best to provide a good experience, but often voice frustration as they don't know what to do with the students. Consequently a set of student clinical experiences have been developed to provide positive clinical experiences highlighting autonomy, critical thinking, leadership, and population-focused practice. A continuum of experiences planned for students from various nursing programs such as AD, Basic BSN, Accelerated BSN, and RN-BSN students help to educate and recruit future PHNs. Collaboration with schools of nursing ensured learning objectives were met. Development of preceptors occurs both through preceptor training and naturally as they work with students on pre-designed experiences. Developing and recognizing expertise as preceptors strengthens their leadership skills. Early findings show student and preceptor have been satisfied with the pre-designed experiences. PHNs in the state Department of Health developed a succession plan for each level of nursing from staff nurse to state level administrative positions. National PHN competencies were used to inform the development of the plan. The final plan impacts recruitment, orientation, training, and performance appraisals. The workgroup learned early in the process succession planning does not mean indentifying one specific successor for a management position in an agency. Rather a succession plan involves the development of all members of the team regardless of their position within the department according to their own career goals. An expert in succession planning was an invaluable part of completion and implementation of the plan.

Learning Areas:
Administration, management, leadership
Other professions or practice related to public health
Provision of health care to the public
Public health administration or related administration
Public health or related education
Public health or related nursing

Learning Objectives:
Discuss the future PHN shortage and need for proactive solutions Consider Recruitment, retention, and succession planning as one solution for the PHN nursing shortage Apply 8 core competencies for PHN to succession plan Analyze student experience and preceptor development as recruitment/retention effort

Keywords: Workforce, Public Health Nursing

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I was awarded the grant to complete the work at the Wyoming Department of Health. I was responsible for completing the project and facilitated all work groups.
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.