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Abstract Perceptions of functioning levels of baccalaureate students nearing graduation were assessed, comparing views of 15 educators, 15 health department administrators, and 185 students. A modified list of the 47 essential public health nursing competencies identified through the U. S. Department of Health and Human Services Division of Nursing served as the basis for data collection and analyses. Student competencies in individual skills were ranked higher than group and community competencies by all three groups surveyed. Students ranked competencies at higher levels than educators and educators at higher levels than administrators. Although administrators continue to advise new graduates to work in acute care before entering community health, support for continuation of this practice was not observed based on administrator ratings.