Community Health Advocacy Training for Nurses – Texas, 2016
Problem Statement: In many local jurisdictions throughout Texas, particularly in rural and frontier areas, public health nurses engage in key community partnerships with stakeholders and community partners who have influence in the development of local policy. Nurses’ engagement with these partners through education and advocacy for populations helps create healthy community policies and thus, healthier communities. All nurses, not just those with education and experience in public health practice, need access to training that will teach them to lead as advocates for innovative policy development in the communities where they live and work. The project goal is to equip nurses with the knowledge, skills, and attitudes needed to successfully identify collaborations with community health policy stakeholders and partners that can yield healthy policy development locally.
Approach: Business, academic, nonprofit, and nursing leaders developed a one-day training curriculum in communication, professionalism, and community engagement. Select Texas public health nurses employed by Texas Department of State Health Services received the training. Training contents were consolidated into a toolkit for web publication.
Products/Outcome: Pre- and post-session surveys were conducted, showing slight improvement in both identifying and active seeking of new collaborations post training, but not in confidence engaging as leaders in community partnerships. A toolkit, including the curriculum agenda, training slides, course objectives, and additional resources, will be published online at the Texas Nurses Association website.
Implications: Nurses possess a unique potential for influence, and when trained for influential engagement, see their potential more broadly and want to engage more fully. More training is needed to enhance nurses’ confidence engaging as leaders. This and other types of shared leadership curricula may encourage practicing nurses to engage and influence.