|Collaborative targets public health nurse mentoring program|
The North Carolina Accreditation Learning Collaborative, a partnership of the North Carolina Division of Public Health, the North Carolina Association of Local Health Directors, and the North Carolina Institute for Public Health, with a grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation is working to improve the quality of public health and prepare for national public health accreditation.
The NC Accreditation Learning Collaborative is working with the Central North Carolina Partnership for Public Health (Central Partnership) which includes: Alamance, Caswell, Chatham, Durham, Guilford, Orange, Person, Rockingham, and Wake Counties.
Health directors in the Central Partnership chose to focus on nurses' abilities to deliver population-based services. The specific target is to improve the retention of public health nurses through a mentoring program that includes orientation to working in a public health agency and training in population-based services.
Retention issues exist in all fields of nursing, but it is particularly problematic in public health. An underlying cause of this retention problem is that nurses entering governmental public health positions may not have had the appropriate exposure to population health, health education, epidemiology, case management and advocacy. Nurses new to the public health field must also learn to switch focus from individual patient care to population-based services. Such challenges can result in job dissatisfaction and increased turnover because job training and scope do not match. The cost of turnover in one nursing position is approximately 75% of the annual salary for that position.
The steering committee of the Central Partnership is using the Georgia Department of Human Resources Mentoring Program for Public Health Nurses as a guide.
On October 28th, Denise Pavletic and Greg Randolph, from the Center for Public Health Quality partnered with the North Carolina Institute for Public Health to provide QI training to the steering committee during a steering committee planning workshop. After participating in the QI training, the steering committee members have an improved understanding of the Model for Improvement and QI tools in order to do small tests of change (called Plan Do Study Act-or PDSA cycles) to measure improvements in nurse job satisfaction.
The objective is to customize the Georgia model into a specific public health perspective for NC and develop the nurse mentoring program to assist new public health nurses in adapting to their roles. After pilot testing and improving the program, the goal is to introduce it to other local health departments.
"Learning how to apply quality improvement methods to public health challenges such as workforce retention is a key goal for public health agencies and partners," says Dr. Mary Davis, Project Director for the NC Accreditation Learning Collaborative
For more information about the North Carolina Accreditation Learning Collaborative, please visit their website at nciph.sph.unc.edu/mlc/.
|Last updated November 24, 2009|