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Public Health Nursing Competencies 1953–1966: Effective and Efficient


Florence M. Weierbach, 10054 Wycliff Road, Richmond, VA 23236. E-mail:


ABSTRACT The Quad Council of Public Health Nursing Organizations developed public health nursing competencies in 2003. They are guides for determining skills at two levels, and they identify public health nurses as providing care to individuals and families or to populations and systems with the nurse having proficiency, awareness, or knowledge. The primary purpose of this paper is to discuss historical nursing roles and qualifications as judged by the 2003 competencies, including educational preparation and experience for the administrative and staff nurse. The historical exemplar for the nursing roles is a combination public/private nursing association, referred to as the partnership, that took place in 1953–1966. Primary sources include archived material from the Instructive Visiting Nurse Association, Richmond, VA. Administrative responsibilities were divided between the chief nurse and the nursing supervisors. Staff nurse responsibilities included clinic activities, home visitation, and referral coordination between health care organizations. The delineation of nursing roles demonstrates nurses' meeting the 2003 competencies. Based on the Quad Council's 2003 public health nursing competencies, the partnership nurses were competent.