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Nurse Educ Today. 2007 Apr;27(3):238-46. Epub 2006 Jul 17.

Measuring self-perceived public health nursing competencies using a quantitative approach.

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  • 1Institute of Nursing Research, University of Ulster at Jordanstown, Newtownabbey BT37 OQB, United Kingdom.



The contribution of nurses to the public health agenda is acknowledged in all health care systems. To integrate public health into nursing curricula competency based models are being proposed. Despite general agreement on public health competencies, there has been limited research on how community nursing students self-assess their public health competencies and the impact of public health programmes on qualifying students' self-assessed competence.


The aim of this paper is to report on the development of a research tool to assess self-perceived public health competencies of community nursing students, pre and post studying on a community and public health nursing programme.


A pre and post intervention quantitative survey was conducted with a non-probability sample of community nursing students (n=108) studying on a public health programme. The questionnaire was developed using public health competencies derived from a United Kingdom (UK) national consensus exercise and informed by international literature. Analysis used SPSS, generating descriptive and inferential statistics.


There were statistically significant improvements in students' self-perceived public health competencies following participation in the public health programme.


It is possible to assess self-perceived competency in public health skills using a validated measurement tool.

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