Entry-to-practice public health nursing competencies: A Delphi method and knowledge translation strategy Academic Article uri icon

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  • BACKGROUND: Sustaining and strengthening nurses 'contributions to public and population health in the 21st century depends in part on nursing education. Clearly articulated entry-to-practice competencies will contribute to the capacity of undergraduate nursing education programs to prepare graduates to promote local, national and global population health. OBJECTIVES: The Canadian Association of Schools of Nursing created the Public Health Task Force to develop consensus on core, national entry-to-practice competencies in public health nursing for undergraduate nursing students and to support these competencies with corresponding online teaching strategies. DESIGN: Delphi approach. PARTICIPANTS: Nurses with public health experience in education and practice, and representatives from other public health professional organizations across Canada. METHOD: The three-phased competency development included: 1) an environmental scan; 2) an iterative process to draft competencies; and 3) a modified Delphi process to confirm the final competency framework using face to face consultations and a survey. The knowledge translation strategy involved soliciting submissions of teaching strategies for peer-review and subsequent inclusion in an interactive online resource. RESULTS: 242 public health educators and practitioners participated in the consensus consultation. The final document outlined five competency statements with 19 accompanying indicators. A total of 123 teaching strategies were submitted for the online resource, of which 50 were accepted as exemplary teaching strategies. CONCLUSION: This competency development process can provide guidance for the development of competencies in other countries, thus strengthening public health nursing education globally. The decision to intentionally level the competencies to entry-to-practice, as opposed to an advanced level, enhanced their application to undergraduate nursing education. The development of the additional inventory of teaching strategies created a sustainable innovative resource for public health nursing educators and practitioners world-wide to support the adoption of entry-to-practice public health nursing competencies.


  • Schofield, Ruth
  • Chircop, Andrea
  • Baker, Cynthia
  • Dietrich Leurer, Marie
  • Duncan, Susan
  • Wotton, Donalda

publication date

  • June 2018