Preparing the Future Public Health Nursing Workforce in California
Synopsis of a Symposium between Academia and Practice
In Collaboration with: Mary Dickow, MPA, FAAN, Jose Escobar, MSN, RN, PHN, Megan Steffy, MSN, RN, PHN, and Phillip A. Greiner, DNSc, RN
Problem Statement: Public health nurses play a critical role in building a culture of health in the communities they serve. Their potential to impact the overall health of communities through effective systems and population health strategies is significant. Schools of Nursing provide the education and preparation to help shape the future public health nursing workforce to function in these important roles. However, there continues to be a shortage of clinical sites in local public health jurisdictions for nursing students enrolled in a baccalaureate and higher degree nursing programs.
Approach: To address this shortage, Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, together with the California Action Coalition, HealthImpact (California’s nursing workforce center), the California Association of Colleges of Nursing, and the California Directors of Public Health Nursing, hosted a symposium in 2016 to bring together nursing academia and practice. They shared innovative approaches to educate and train the future nursing workforce in California. The goal of the symposium was to learn and promote leading-edge methods in the following areas:
- Clinical placements that foster the practice of health promotion and population health;
- Capacity building strategies to develop high quality non-traditional clinical sites;
- Curriculum and faculty development initiatives to advance education and practice; and
- Collaborative projects that incorporate individual, community, or systems level practice.
Products/Outcome: The symposium brought together nearly 100 leaders in public health nursing education and practice. The program highlighted innovative work that promotes experiential learning for public health nursing students. Six recommendations were developed for action.
Implications: Synergistic relationships between nursing academia and practice are key in teaching the skills and competencies needed for a public health nursing workforce. Nursing academia and practice need to work together to educate and prepare future public health nurses to promote healthy communities and advance health equity for all residents in these communities.