Online Program

Assessing linkages between Public Health Accreditation & PHN Practice

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Karen Towne, MSN, RN, Portage County Health Department, Kent, OH
Rosemary Chaudry, PhD, MPH, MHA; RN, CPH, Ohio Public Health Association, Columbus, OH
Barbara Polivka, PhD, School of Nursing, University of Louisville, Louisville, KY

Despite the increasing focus on accreditation for public health (PH) departments, the relationship between accreditation and PH nursing (PHN) practice is an unexplored but increasingly relevant topic. This project mapped  the linkages between PHN practice frameworks and national accreditation standards.


A matrix was created that aligned competencies from three major PHN practice documents (PHN Scope & Standards [2013], Quad Council (QC) PHN competencies [2011], and Council on Linkages (CoL) Competencies for Public Health Professionals [2014]). Next, linkages were examined between the aligned competencies and standards in the Public Health Accreditation Board (PHAB) V.1.5 Standards and Measures (2014). Two PHNs independently populated the matrix and reviewed discrepancies until 100% agreement was reached.


Eighteen percent of the PHN Scope and Standards competencies aligned with QC and CoL competencies for a total of 35 alignments across the three documents. No clear alignment was demonstrated for five PHN Standards. When the 35 alignments were compared to the PHAB Standards, alignment was demonstrated for 25 of 32 PHAB Standards (78%) with several competency alignments recurring across Standards. Highest levels of linkage were found for PHAB Standards related to informing/educating the community, access to care, and PH department administration.


Minimal alignment among PHN practice frameworks and accreditation guidance undermines documentation of the effectiveness and contributions of PHN to PH departments seeking accreditation. PHN leadership must streamline competencies to create a unified definition of PHN practice and to assure the viability of PHN as a key component of the PH workforce.

Learning Areas:

Public health or related nursing

Learning Objectives:
List 3 areas in which the linkages across the documents guiding PHN practice are strongest and 3 areas in which the linkages are weakest. Discuss the areas of strongest and weakest linkage between PHN competencies and the Public Health Accreditation Board Standards & Measures. Discuss one implication of alignment results on the future of PHN practice at PH departments.

Keyword(s): Accreditation, Workforce Development

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I participated in reviewing literature, developing research questions, performing analysis,interpreting results, formulating conclusions. I have experience as an accreditation coordinator and as a site visitor, and also in PHN theory/practice/research and workforce issues.
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.