Online Program

Assessing community health competencies in BSN students: A curriculum evaluation

Wednesday, November 6, 2013 : 8:30 a.m. - 8:50 a.m.

Nancy N. Menzel, PhD, RN, PHCNS-BC, CPH, CNE, School of Nursing, University of Nevada, Las Vegas, Las Vegas, NV
Michele C. Clark, PhD, RN, LMFT, School of Nursing, University of Nevada, Las Vegas, Las Vegas, NV
The baccalaureate degree is considered the minimum requirement for entry into community/public health nursing practice, yet there has been little research on the effectiveness of BSN curricula in attracting and preparing students for this role. ACHNE (Association of Community Health Nursing Educators) in 2009 published the Essentials of Baccalaureate Nursing Education for Entry Level Community/Public Health Nursing, a framework for “planning, implementing, and evaluating C/PHN baccalaureate nursing curricula.” When the population-focused health course was reduced in credits and introduced earlier in the four semester program at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, we prepared a Likert-scale tool based on the ACHNE Essentials to compare students in the old (N=29) and new (N=46) curricula on their confidence in having achieved 28 competencies and their opinion of each competency's importance. In spring 2011, students in the old curriculum scored consistently higher than students in the new curriculum in both confidence and assessment of importance of all competencies. We used these data to restructure course content and clinical experiences in the new curriculum and compared 29 students in the revised course in spring 2012 with those in the earlier course. There were only small changes; students in the old curriculum remained significantly more confident and valued the competencies more highly. From the differences observed in assessment of importance of core community knowledge and self-efficacy of competencies, it is clear that introducing a reduced course with complex, unfamiliar concepts earlier in the curriculum presents challenges to preparing nurses for entry into C/PHN practice.

Learning Areas:

Conduct evaluation related to programs, research, and other areas of practice
Public health or related education
Public health or related nursing

Learning Objectives:
Discuss BSN students' confidence in achievement and assessment of importance of community health competencies. Evaluate whether curriculum redesign was effective

Keyword(s): Public Health Nursing, Public Health Curriculum

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I conducted this research and am an experienced investigator and educator.
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.