Jan 08, 2018

Determining Health Care Employer Interest and Needs for Population Health Training

In Collaboration with: Boniface Stegman, PhD, MSN, RN

Problem Statement:  In the current shifting health care environment, nurses have a unique opportunity to utilize their knowledge and skills to lead the way to a healthier nation.  Nursing theory and education, at the bachelor’s level and above, prepares nurses to lead the way in creating a Culture of Health (COH) where they live and work.   However, few nurses have the opportunity to practice the population based skills learned in nursing school once in practice, due to the acute care focus of most nursing positions.

Approach:  Phase I of the CHIP focused on understanding where health care providers are in their understanding of population health and what they see as the need for training nurses to lead COH initiatives in their workplace and communities. CHIP utilized the connections of the Missouri Center for Nursing to interview nurse employers in Missouri via a snowball sample.  Interviews were conducted with 33 nurse employers either individually or in group settings.  A pre-survey/post-survey design was used to establish knowledge gain and perceived training needs.  The interview served as a vehicle to articulate the COH framework, nurses’ roles in a culture of health, and the intersection with the health care environment.

Products/Outcome: Survey results showed that most health care organizations are not currently providing education for their nurses related to their role in population health.  The results also show that employers would be interested in having their nurses and/or other health care providers participate in this type of education. The most sought-after topics are: identifying and implementing evidence-based strategies, focus on prevention, and understanding and applying social determinants of health to individuals and populations.

Implications: Phase II will focus on development of education and resources incorporating the identified COH topics, to fully equip experienced nurses for leading COH changes in the healthcare environment.