247287 Perceived Learning Needs of Public Health Nurses

Wednesday, November 2, 2011: 9:30 AM

Judy C. Martin, PhD, APRN, BC , Office of Nursing, Shelby County Health Department, Memphis, TN
Ernestine B. Small, EdD RN , Primary Care/Public Health, Shelby County Health Department, Memphis, TN
Background: Professional development and support of public health nurses' (PHNs) competency are increasingly challenging agency responsibilities secondary to fiscal restraint, the shift toward community—focused care, and recent recommendations by the Institute of Medicine emphasizing interdisciplinary professional development. In light of these challenges, a study was conducted to assess perceived continuing education needs of PHNs in a local health department and to ascertain the motivations and interests of these PHNs regarding continuing professional development. Methods: The qualitative approach was undertaken to ensure that individual educational needs were identified and incorporated into the planning of a professional development program curriculum. The nursing leadership of all public health clinics/programs was interviewed using an open-ended questionnaire. Participants were asked to separately describe what the leadership and their staff wanted to better understand, what they wanted to learn how to do, and what knowledge and competencies they perceived were needed to be successful in accomplishing their roles and responsibilities. Results: A total of 15 PHN leaders participated in the interview representing 110 PHNs. Four themes emerged from analysis of the data: desire for professional, self-development; desire to participate in the vision of the organization; desire to be connected to the system of public health; and passion for making a positive impact on health care outcomes for communities and families. Several specific continuing professional development interests and needs also emerged from the data analysis. Conclusions: Findings will be used to design a continuing education plan that enhances PHN knowledge and abilities associated with identified themes.

Learning Areas:
Administration, management, leadership
Diversity and culture
Other professions or practice related to public health
Public health or related nursing
Public health or related public policy
Public health or related research

Learning Objectives:
Describe motivating factors for continuing education of public health nurses Identify the continuing education interests and needs of public health nurses

Keywords: Needs Assessment, Competency

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: Dr. Small and I collaborated in developing and implementing this abstract and project. In addition, I have over 20 years of professional nursing education experience and 10 years of public health administrative experience with responsibility for addressing CE needs of nurse leaders and staff nurses. The Nursing Education Coordinator is a direct report to my position as Chief of Nursing.
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.