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Keywords:

  • clinical competence;
  • competencies;
  • competency-based education;
  • health fairs;
  • interdisciplinary education;
  • public health nursing

ABSTRACT This paper describes a community–campus partnership for health education established through the effort of faculty, students, and the community. Health fairs designed to address issues of concern to a community agency were originally conducted with nursing students. This partnership between nursing and a community was expanded to include social work, physical therapy, and medical students. A shared learning experience was structured through the presentation of health fairs in collaboration with agencies in Burlington, Vermont. One goal of nursing education is to produce professionals who have the beginning competencies of public health nursing. Reflection on the process, relationships, and outcomes of the health fairs revealed that students attained these beginning competencies in all eight public health nursing competency domains. Combining community–campus partnerships and an interdisciplinary focus enabled nursing students to become more responsive to community needs and to learn to work collaboratively toward creating healthier communities, thus building skills required for public health nursing.