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Does Advanced Community/Public Health Nursing Practice Have a Future?


  • Julie Fisher Robertson is Professor, Northern Illinois University School of Nursing, De Kalb, Illinois.

Julie Fisher Robertson, 1240 Normal Rd., De Kalb, IL 60115. E-mail:


Abstract  Societal trends and predicted needs of the health care system indicate that there will be increasing demands for health care professionals who can effectively manage the health needs of populations and communities. Nurses who have master's degrees in community/public health nursing have the educational background to provide this expertise. Although the Association of Community Health Nursing Educators and many nursing leaders maintain that these nurses are advanced practice nurses, most leading nursing organizations and state nurse practice acts do not include population and community health management skills in their definitions of advanced practice nursing. These exclusions have produced a serious status problem for master's programs in community/public health nursing. This article examines issues affecting the current and future status of master's-level community/public health nursing. Solutions are suggested for ensuring the viability of this specialty area.