Project Title: Advancing Public Health Nursing Education in Illinois III
Organization Name: University of Illinois at Chicago: College of Nursing (CON)
Address: 845 S. Damen Avenue, Chicago, IL 60612
Project Director: Kathleen A. Baldwin, PhD, RN Phone: 309-671-8467
Project Period: 09/01/07-06/30/09 Fax: 309-671-8436
In Illinois public health nurses (PHNs) are too few in number and remain undereducated for delivering services that are population-focused, competent, and matched to contemporary health needs of the population. The purpose of this proposal is to enhance the number and competency of PHNs serving Illinois citizens. Specifically we intend to enhance the accessibility and content of the University of Illinois College of Nursing (UIC CON) public health nurse graduate degrees by (a) tailoring the curriculum to accommodate the wide-ranging educational backgrounds of applicants, (b) achieving depth of experiential learning for advanced PHN students through optimizing long-term partnerships, and (c) aggressively marketing UIC CON PHN curricula to a broad and diverse audience. Student achievement of current national PHN competencies remains central to curricular revisions; graduates of our program are eligible to write the national Advanced Community Health Nursing certification examination.
We are able to capitalize on our status as the largest and lead CON in Illinois with outreach programs in four regions of the state besides Chicago and the statewide practice-education infrastructure we have built to date. We, along with our partners are well positioned to meet the continuing project objectives.
(1) Accelerate educational mobility from RN to Master of Science (MS) in Nursing or the joint MS and Master of Public Health (MS/MPH) by strengthening and expanding our graduate degree options and eliminating unnecessary logistical barriers.
(2) Expand access to a joint MS/MPH degree option by (a) implementing the existing joint MS/MPH degree option at an additional regional campus, Rockford, and (b) making the School of Public Health’s maternal and child track courses available at both Rockford and Peoria.
(3) Attract and retain “Graduate Entry Program” students (students with a university degree in another field seeking nursing credentials) in PHN by strengthening applicant interviewing processes and population-focused content found in the pre-NCLEX phase of this program.
(4) Provide high-quality, novel service-learning experiences focused on integration of population-focused services with primary health care that will enhance (a) cultural competence of students and (b) population-focused skills of preceptors at these sites.
(5) Recruit and retain highly qualified, culturally diverse applicants who are representative of the geographic diversity of Illinois by implementing an aggressive marketing plan.Completion of these objectives will strengthen public health nursing leadership in Illinois—increasing the total number of highly skilled graduates and creating a workforce that better represents and is better able to serve the ethnic diversity of our population. The ultimate effect will be to better protect the health of the public and reduce disease morbidity and mortality through better public health programming. This project meets the criteria for statutory funding preference, as it will substantially benefit underserved populations and the public health nursing workforce.