Competency-Based Public Health Clinical Educational Strategies
Schaffer, Marjorie A.
Cesario, Carolyn Marie
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Challenges facing nursing educators and public health agencies in preparing a public health nursing workforce for the 21st century include a lack of clinical sites, competition between schools of nursing for public health learning experiences, and a lack of experience in public health nursing practice or education among nursing faculty. A consortium of nursing educators and practicing public health nurses developed eleven population-based public health nursing competencies for entry level practice. The competencies resulted from a thorough review and analysis of existing standards and competencies for public health nursing practice by nursing educators and public health nurses (PHNs) in practice. To respond to the challenges of educating a public health nursing workforce for the future, educators and PHN practitioners worked in partnership to develop an evidence-based clinical manual organized by population-based entry level competencies required for entry into public health nursing practice. The manual reflects a consensus of public health nursing faculty and practicing PHNs. Manual features include: 1) population-based learning activities organized by competency, 2) use of an evidence-based model that incorporates all levels of evidence, 3) a systematic approach to reflective learning threaded through all learning experiences, and 4) scenarios of interest to nursing students developed in each competency chapter. Scenarios of evidence-based practice and learning experiences were developed through a writing partnership with agency staff and schools of nursing. The authors recommend that nursing programs evaluate the way they are providing clinical education in public health nursing. Is the clinical curriculum competency-driven, evidence-based, and consistent with recognized practice standards and the needs of populations and agencies in the 21st century? This session will present strategies for public health nursing clinical education and competency-based learning experiences for nursing students.