Competencies for Public Health Nursing Practice Instrument


The Competencies for Public Health Nursing Practice Instrument describes and measures public health nursing competencies that are essential for improving population health. The Instrument covers all aspects of population-based public health nursing practice. The Instrument also reflects the range of skills needed to improve population health, and was designed to be sensitive enough to document changes in skills over time. It was designed with the assumption that nurses will be more competent in some areas and less competent in others.

Public health nursing faculty at the University of Minnesota and University of Wisconsin-Green Bay developed this instrument in collaboration with staff at the Center for Public Health Nursing, Office of Public Health Practice, Minnesota Department of Health. The developers are grateful for the contributions of Linda Olson Keller, Sue Strohschein, Mary Rippke, Laurel Briske, and the hundreds of other public health nurses who have participated in the development of this instrument. The Instrument has undergone extensive national validity testing and has demonstrated capacity to document changes in competencies over time.

Potential Uses in Practice

  • Staff orientation
  • Staff development
  • Staff self and external evaluation
  • Development and revision of job descriptions
  • Evaluation of agency capacity for population-focused public health nursing practice
  • Workforce development
  • Informing others about nature of public health nursing practice

Potential Uses in Education

  • Curriculum guide
  • Staff development
  • Student self and external evaluation

Future Plans

  • Reliability testing
  • Research on competency levels of population-focused public health nurses in various settings