Online Program

Establishment of a PHN Code in the BLS Standard Occupation Code System

Monday, November 2, 2015

Susan Strohschein, DNP, MS, RN, APHN-BC, School of Nursing, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN
In the United States the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Standard Occupation Classification System (SOC) is the coding system used to track and enumerate the labor market.  The current (2010) version of the SOC recognizes eleven occupations modified as “public health,” including dentist, educator, nutritionist, social worker, and veterinarian, but not public health nurse.  Searching for “public health nurse” in the SOC leads only to “registered nurse”; users are left to assume that the tasks, knowledge and tools associated with the performance of public health nursing is the same as that of the general-duty registered nurse.    This lack of recognition led to misrepresentation in recent enumerations of both the public health and the registered nurse workforce and misunderstanding in both workforces and the general public regarding the unique characteristics of the community/public health nursing profession.

This presentation reports on the results of a survey distributed to a national sample of both novice and expert public health nurses conducted in February 2015.  The results suggest there is little overlap between the predominant tasks, knowledge and tools required of the public health nurse and those of the general-duty registered nurse.  Survey results were submitted to the Office of Management and Budget, which is charged with the current effort to revise the SOC, as supporting documentation to the request submitted by the Quad Council in July 2014 requesting a new PHN code.  Updates and next steps current at the time of the presentation will be included.

Learning Areas:

Public health or related nursing

Learning Objectives:
Describe the BLS Standard Occupation Code System (SOC)and its usage implications List historical and recent efforts to establish a public health nurse (PHN) code within the SOC List results of a February 2015 survey of PHN participants that compares the tasks, knowledge, and tools in public health nursing work vs. the dominant tasks, knowledge, and tools used by registered nurses working in acute care settings Discussion implications of the survey results for the future of the public health nursing workforce

Keyword(s): Nurses/Nursing, Workforce

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have over 40 years experience in public health nursing at both the local and state levels of health departments and with the University of Minnesota School of Nursing. I am also co-author of several articles published in juried nursing journals. My presentation reports on the survey research I completed as part the capstone project requirement of my doctoral work.
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.