PDF of document phn_mini
Title and Credits
What is a Public Health Nurse?
Critical Functions
Funding Sources
Survey Background
and Methodology
Retirement Concerns
      Table 1: Average Age by Region (Universe)
  Table 2: Regional Age Distribution (Universe)
Description of Sample
Response Rate
      Table 3: Response Rates by Region
  Table 4: Response Rates by Age Group
Age and Demographics Distribution
      Table 5: Respondent Age Distribution by Region
      Table 6: Respondent Job Title by Age Group
  Retirement Plans
      Table 7: Respondents’ Retirement Plans by Age Group
      Table 8: Highest Degree Obtained in Nursing by Respondent Age Group
Education Distribution
      Table 9: Highest Degree Obtained in Nursing for Respondents by Region
      Table 10: Respondent Job Classification by Highest Education Completed in Nursing
  Retirement Plans
      Table 11: Respondents Plans to Retire by Highest Education Completed in Nursing
Tenure Distribution
      Table 12: Respondents’ Reported Tenure as a PHN by Region
      Table 13: Satisfaction
Intention to Leave
Why Would You Leave Nursing?
      Table 14: Why Would You Leave Nursing Altogether?
      Table 15: Longevity
Funding Source
Starting Work in PHN
      Table 16: Primary Reason You Chose to Work in Public Health
  Staying in PHN
      Table 17: Primary Reason You Choose to Stay in Public Health
Appendix A


One of the most important findings in this study was that the majority of public health nurses with at least a bachelor’s degree is in the 55-64 year-old category and is quickly approaching traditional retirement age. Those in the next age groups, the presumed successors to the retiring nurses, generally have less education. Nurses in the youngest age bracket are, overall, well educated, but they comprise only a small percentage of the total public health nursing work force. In order to avoid a shortage of nurses generally, and properly prepared nurses specifically, steps must be taken to increase the number of nurses with at least a bachelor’s degree. This could prove difficult in an environment where nurses are in short supply and are therefore recruited by other workplace settings. However, as evidenced by this study, public health nurses tend to be very satisfied with their jobs and are likely to remain with the same employer for long periods of time. Recruitment strategies could emphasize the unique characteristics of public health that generally appear to encourage increased satisfaction.

Nurses working in public health reported higher satisfaction than nurses in the other workplace settings in:

In addition, nurses stated they commonly selected work in public health because of the work schedule, and chose to stay in public health because they felt the work was important. This could be an indication that many nurses are unaware of the function of public health. Perhaps, as suggested by Ouzts (2008), changes to the clinical experience required by nursing education in Wyoming could result in better understanding by the students and therefore more interest in pursuing a career in public health.

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