Embracing a competency-based specialty curriculum for community-based nursing roles

Public Health Nurs. 2013 Nov-Dec;30(6):557-65. doi: 10.1111/phn.12042. Epub 2013 Apr 5.


The Quad Council competencies for public health nursing (PHN) provide guidance in developing curricula at both the generalist and specialist level. However, these competencies are based on nursing roles in traditional public health agencies and community/public health is defined more broadly than official agency practice. The question arises as to whether community-based specialties require largely the same knowledge and skill set as PHN. The purpose of the competency cross-mapping project reported here was to (a) assess the intersection of the Quad Council competencies with four community-based specialties and (b) ensure the appropriateness of a Quad Council-based curriculum to prepare graduates across these four specialties (home health, occupational health, environmental health, and school nursing). This article details the multistep cross-mapping process, including validation with practice leaders. Results indicate strong alignment of community-based specialty competencies with Quad Council competencies. Community-based specialty-specific content that did not align well is identified, along with examples of didactic and clinical strategies to address gaps. This work indicates that a Quad Council-based curriculum is appropriate to prepare graduates in community-based specialties when attention to the specialty-specific competencies in the clinical setting is included. This work guides the development of a doctorate of nursing practice curriculum in PHN, encompassing the four additional community-based specialties.

Keywords: community/public health nursing competencies; environmental health nursing; home health nursing; occupational health nursing; school nursing.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Community Health Nursing / education*
  • Competency-Based Education*
  • Curriculum*
  • Environmental Health / education
  • Home Health Nursing / education
  • Humans
  • Nurse's Role*
  • Nursing Education Research
  • Nursing Evaluation Research
  • Occupational Health Nursing / education
  • Public Health Nursing / education
  • School Nursing / education