Developing population health competencies among public health nurses in Georgia

Carole C Jakeway, Elizabeth E Cantrell, Jackie B Cason, Brenda S Talley
Public Health Nursing 2006, 23 (2): 161-7
As part of a new vision for public health in Georgia, the role of the public health nurse (PHN) is shifting from a predominantly individual and clinic-based care model to a population health practice model. Based on focus groups conducted with management and frontline PHNs in 2001, nurses in Georgia were unprepared for this transition and lacked a strong understanding of population health concepts and competencies. To prepare nurses for their new and expanded responsibilities, an online population health course was developed specifically for currently employed PHNs. The Quad Council PHN Competencies (2003) provided the roadmap in identifying the population health online course and continuing education training program priority competencies for PHNs in Georgia. Along with incorporating the competencies into case studies and didactic learning, the required projects served as evidence of competency application. The population health online course was offered from fall 2000 to spring 2005 in collaboration with Georgia schools of nursing and has enabled a cohort of nurses to lead the way as Georgia transitions into a new public health model. Nurses who completed the course reported greater experience with and an understanding of population health competencies.

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