Online Program

Congruence of position descriptions for public health nurses with essential services and with national professional standards

Tuesday, November 5, 2013 : 3:10 p.m. - 3:30 p.m.

Barbara Polivka, PhD, School of Nursing, University of Louisville, Louisville, KY
Rosemary V. Chaudry, RN, PhD, MPH, Assessment, Planning, & Education, Delaware General Health District, Delaware, OH
Background: This descriptive study explored the congruence of public health nursing (PHN) position descriptions (PD) with public health (PH) essential services and with national PHN standards. Methods: PDs (N=259) from 71 (57%) of Ohio's 125 PH departments were reviewed. Elements of the position descriptions were compared to the 10 Essential Services (ES) and 20 ANA PHN Standard/Sub-standards for Practice (ANA Standard). Two trained reviewers assessed each PD individually and resolved discrepancies to 100% agreement. Results: The majority of PDs (62%) were for staff PHN positions in urban PH departments (75%). Over 60% of the PDs addressed ES 3 and ANA Standard 5b (inform, educate, empower people about health issues; health education/health promotion) and ES 6 and ANA Standard 5d (implement/enforce PH laws and regulations). Fewer than 5% of the PDs addressed research. PDs for PHN managers noted developing policies and plans, enforcing laws and regulations, assuring a competent workforce, and evaluation significantly more often than staff PHNs. PDs from rural PH departments focused significantly more on monitoring health status, linkages, and evaluation while PDs from urban PH departments focused significantly more on mobilization and on enforcing laws and regulations. Comparisons by additional health department characteristics will be presented. Conclusions: PDs for PHNs do not adequately reflect essential public health services or professional nursing standards of practice. Given the move to national PH department accreditation and certification of PH practitioners, strengthening linkages between PHN practice and workforce standards would strengthen the credibility and relevance of PHN to public health.

Learning Areas:

Public health or related nursing
Public health or related organizational policy, standards, or other guidelines

Learning Objectives:
Explain the congruence between public health nursing position descriptions with public health essential services. Explain the congruence between public health nursing position descriptions and public health nursing national standards.

Keyword(s): Public Health Nursing, Standards

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have the principal investigator on this study; I have received grant funding and published in the area of public health services research.
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.