239512 Public Health Nursing workforce trends: Looking toward and planning for the future

Wednesday, November 2, 2011: 8:50 AM

Deborah Chaulk, MS, RN, PHCNS-BC , Master of Science in Nursing Program, Worcester State University, Worcester, MA
Glynnis LaRosa, RN, MPH, CPHQ , Bureau of Infectious Disease Prevention, Response and Services, Masschusetts Department of Public Health, Jamaica Plain, MA
Katherine Schmidt, RN, MS, MPH , Governing Board, Massachusetts Association of Public Health Nurses, Milton, MA
Andrew Ellingson, MPH , Contractor, Massachusetts Association of Public Health Nurses, Boston, MA
Dawn Dewkett, BS, RN , School of Nursing - DNP Public Health, University of Massachusetts Amherst, Amherst, MA
Kitty Mahoney, RN, BSN, MS , President, Massachusetts Association of Public Health Nurses, Chief Public Health Nurse, Town of Framingham, Framingham, MA
Public Health Nurses (PHNs) are essential in improving the health of their communities. It is critical to identify PHN workforce trends to understand their impact on the health of residents of the state. PHNs were surveyed in 2006 to obtain baseline data and a follow-up survey was conducted in 2010 with a special focus on documenting a PHN/population ratio for Massachusetts. As in 2006, the 2010 survey was distributed statewide. Information on PHNs education, experience, age, scope of practice, populations served, compensation and preparedness was collected. A total of 174 surveys were returned for 183 municipalities representing more than 80% of the state's population. Data from 2010 was analyzed and compared to 2006 survey data. PHNs remained well educated, with the majority having a BSN or higher. PHNs continued to have breadth and depth of nursing experience and significant public health experience. PHNs attendance at Local Emergency Planning meetings increased as did PHN participation in exercises and drills. Emergency preparedness training percentages improved in all areas surveyed. The 2010 survey documented that the PHN/population ratio is well below the ASTDN recommendation of 1 PHN/5000 population. Enumerating a decentralized PHN workforce in a state of 351 municipalities that individually maintain and administer local public health services is extremely challenging. Despite the difficult economic climate there are innovative public health nursing practices being developed in both urban and rural communities. Robust marketing and advocacy strategies are essential to address the inadequate PHN/population ratio and the impact on the health of Massachusetts residents.

Learning Areas:
Public health or related nursing

Learning Objectives:
1.Describe the Massachusetts PHN workforce. 2.Analyze changes in the PHN workforce between 2006 and 2010 3.Discuss strategies to assure that all residents of the state have equal access to PHN services.

Keywords: Workforce, Public Health Nursing

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am qualified to present because I am an Adjunct Faculty member in the Master of Science in Nursing Community/Public Health Specialization at Worcester State University also the Project Manager for Nurse Educator Initiative at Worcester State University. I am the Performance Improvement Project Manager at Marlborough Hospital. In the past I was the nursing research associate for a home health blood exposures and sharps injury prevention grant. I am currently certified by the ANCC as a Public Health Clinical Nurse Specialist. I served on the MAPHN Board as a member at large and I am a current member of MAPHN.
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.