In the recently released article, A Critical Gap: Advanced Practice Nurses Focused on the Public’s Health in Nursing Outlook (2021), Bekemeier and colleagues highlight the “need for nurse leaders who “embrace the interconnection” between medicine and public health. The inequitable impact of COVID19 on people of color demonstrates the importance of applying expertise from nursing practice and public health systems to work with communities and other professions on complex health issues. Yet, despite a clear need for improved population health, educational programs designed to produce Advanced Public Health Nurses, with skills to address complex system change, have become increasingly scarce. (p..1)” They assert the urgent need for expanding opportunities for nurses to advance their education in public health practice.
Now more then ever schools of nursing need identify strategies to implement a social mission focused on health equity (Mahoney et al., 2020). Schools of nursing should bolster public health nursing curricula to prepare Advanced Public Health Nurses who have the competencies to improve the public’s health. Both actions, implementing a social mission in nursing education and strengthening the public health nursing workforce specifically address Recommendation 7 in the Future of Nursing 2020-2030 Report.
2 thoughts on “A Critical Gap: Advanced Practice Nurses Focused on the Public’s Health”
I couldn’t agree more and this just asks more questions like certification for the PHNA!
The year 2000, I completed a MSN in Nursing with an Emphasis in Community Public Health at San Francisco State University. At that time, I became an Advanced Public Health Nurse per the State Board of Registered Nursing in California. However, after the 2010 Institute of Medicine report highlighting the need for Nurse Practitioners, Advanced Practice Nurses without NP certification were decommissioned. After the years of hard work and deep student debt, the pathway to Advanced Public Health Nursing was eliminated for an emphasis on NP’s and Clinical Nurse Specialists. The work of Public Health Nursing has been the basis of care in every community since nursing as a formal profession began, yet we were the first to be eliminated over the glamour of nurses practicing medicine. ANCC no longer has the Advanced Public Health Nurse Certification, therefore no matter our experience and education, we cannot become board certified. Nursing leadership in every school and governmental agency in the United States is responsible for devaluing population based health and the pandemic has made this clear. Like Black Nurse Leaders in the past, I plan to address the public health of our community with good old fashioned nursing, boots on the ground in the community. Especially since I cannot rely on nursing leaders to see the future of nursing for people of color, like me.