About Public Health Nursing

Public health nursing is the practice of promoting and protecting the health of populations using knowledge from nursing, social, and public health sciences.

Public health nurses are directly engaged in the inter-disciplinary activities of the core public health functions of assessment, assurance and policy development. Interventions or strategies—aimed at entire population groups, families, or individuals—are targeted to multiple levels depending on where the most effective outcomes are possible. In any setting, the role of public health nurses focuses on the prevention of illness, injury or disability, the promotion of health, and maintenance of the health of populations.

Public health nursing may be practiced by one individual nurse or by a group of nurses working collaboratively. In both instances, they interpret and articulate the health and illness experiences of diverse, often vulnerable individuals and families in the population to health planners and policy makers, and assist members of the community to voice their problems and aspirations. Evidence and data drive the practice of public health nurses, who translate knowledge from the health and social sciences to individuals and population groups through direct care, programs, and advocacy. 


Public Health Nursing  leading the way in building healthy communities, achieving health equity and social justice, and improving quality of life for all communities. 

Mission Statement
Public Health Nursing advancing the health of the population in partnership with the community through evidence-based practice, education, and research. Serving as a national voice for public health nurses (PHN’s).

  • Providing a national forum for nurses to discuss and exchange ideas and knowledge of community health-related matters.
  • Facilitating the conduct and utilization of research on matters related to public health and nursing.
  • Jointly planning and coordinating activities with other Sections of the Association to achieve organizational goals.
  • Serving as repository for PHN history and traditions.
  • Promoting the inclusion of PHN’s in all deliberations about health policy and research in which nurses have expertise, interest and/or a unique perspective to contribute.
  • Fostering the personal and professional development of members by increasing their awareness and use of the political process in providing PHN services to people.
  • Serving as advocate for populations at risk in need of health and related services.
  • Advocating for "Health for All" through promotion of a broad view of health and involvement in the multi-sectors influencing the health of communities.

Strategic Priorities

The following strategic priorities have been established in order to meet the central challenge:

  • Ensure social justice and eliminate health disparities;
  • Strengthen the public health work force;
  • Actively engage students; and
  • Promote environmental health.