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3.1 Defining Public/Community Health Nursing

Community health focuses on the physical, mental, and social well-being of a community. Nurses promote health, prevent diseases, and address the needs of populations with shared characteristics, health conditions, and health risks. Public/community health nurses have a rich history of service. Events such as World War II, the HIV and AIDS epidemic, and the COVID-19 pandemic were greatly impacted by nursing and have shaped modern public/community health nursing practice. Nursing leaders have contributed to this field by addressing social determinants and inequities and by caring for vulnerable populations.

3.2 Public/Community Health Nursing Scope of Practice, Core Competencies, and Function

Nurses in public/community health work in interprofessional teams and collaborate with community partners and policymakers to address health disparities and promote equity. The ANA provides a set of professional scopes and standards that guide public/community health nursing practice.

3.3 Public/Community Health Nursing Practice

Public health and clinical care collaborate to address communicable and noncommunicable conditions that are actual or potential risks to the public’s health. Public/community health nurses promote health, provide education, create social prescriptions, perform community assessments, engage in health advocacy, and respond to diseases and disasters. Their work addresses health disparities, promotes equity, and facilitates justice in health care.


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