Nurse Recruitment Needed in Public Health

Written by LeAnn Thieman, CSP, October 8th, 2013

More than 2 in 5 state health departments report having “a great deal of difficulty” hiring nurses, and nearly 40% of state and local health departments have insufficient resources to fill vacant nurse positions, according to the report released by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

Researchers with the University of Michigan Center of Excellence in Public Health Workforce Studies collected data from state and local public health departments and surveyed public health nurses. Although those surveyed reported concerns about job stability, compensation and career growth with current budget constraints, they also reported very high levels of job satisfaction and felt they are making a difference in their communities.

Such factors could bolster recruitment efforts, according to an RWJF news release.

The report offers a snapshot of the public health nurse workforce — estimated at 34,521 full-time equivalent RNs.

Among the key findings:

• Nearly 2 in 5 respondents to the survey (39%) report their highest nursing degree is a diploma/associate’s degree. Only 10 states require public health nurses to have BSNs.

• Providing clinical services is part of the work done, but these nurses assume a wide variety of roles, including health promotion, disease surveillance, community health assessment, policy development and more.

• The public health nurse workforce is aging, but most RNs do not intend to retire within the next five years.

• Recruitment and hiring of RNs into public health nurses positions can be challenging, particularly for state health departments.

• Lack of promotion opportunities is a concern.

• Public health nurses report extremely high levels of job satisfaction despite reporting high levels of dissatisfaction with salaries.

More public health nurses will be needed to meet the growing demand. To learn about nurse recruitment and nurse retention go to CONTACT ME DIRECTLY to discuss my new initiative, SelfCare for HealthCare™, Your Guide to Physical, Mental and Spiritual Health.

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