Interest in public health careers among undergraduate student nurses.

School of Nursing, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, Wisconsin.
Journal of public health management and practice: JPHMP (Impact Factor: 0.96). 01/2013; 19(1):62-9. DOI: 10.1097/PHH.0b013e31824c60b7
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT : Public health workforce trends demonstrate threats to a vital national resource. The current shortage of public health nurses is due to a variety of factors. One route to addressing the public health nursing shortage is to increase the level of interest in public health as a career option for nurses.
: The main objective of this study was to examine the relationship of nursing education program and field experience characteristics on the level of interest in a public health career among student nurses.
: Cross-sectional, online surveys of undergraduate student nurses were conducted over 6 semesters to assess the relationship of field practicum characteristics and level of interest in a public health career.
: Undergraduate student nurses (N = 882) enrolled in traditional baccalaureate nursing programs (n = 18) and online associate to baccalaureate degree completion programs (n = 2) in one US state participated in the survey after completing the required community or public health coursework and field experiences.
: Level of interest in a career in public health was measured using a 4-point Likert-type scale anchored by "no interest" and "very strong interest."
: Overall, 46% of respondents expressed either moderate or strong interest in a future career in public health. Having had a field experience in a local health department was the only type of experience associated with stronger interest in a public health career. Enrollment in baccalaureate completion programs was associated with higher interest, and enrollment in programs located in a region of the state where students were significantly less likely to have field experiences in local health departments was associated with lower interest.
: Career interests for nurses are developed in part through field experiences while in nursing school. Interest in public health careers may be nurtured through field experiences in local health departments.

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    ABSTRACT: To identify the basic competencies and contents related to public health to be included in degree programs according to the perspective of lecturers from various Spanish universities. In the context of the Second Workshop on Public Health Contents in Degree Programs (Mahon, 19 to 20 September 2012), 20 lecturers from different Spanish universities were distributed in five working groups. The lecturers had been selected from the instructional guides on public health and epidemiology published on the web sites of the Rectors' Conference of Spanish Universities. Each group worked on a degree program and the results were discussed in plenary sessions. The activities and competencies related to the three basic functions of public health were identified in all degree programs. Most of the professional competencies identified were related to the function of «assessment of population health needs». The contents proposed by the working groups related to epidemiology, basic concepts in public health, public health intervention, health management, and health policy. The main common topics among the degrees concerned the first three contents. Public health professional competencies and contents were identified in the degree programs examined. These results may serve as a starting point for a more detailed review of public health programs across degree levels and the search for a consensus on the common content that should be included in each of them.
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