1. Mezey, Mathy EdD, RN, FAAN


Elders fare less well in public health efforts.


Article Content

CHPH nursing synthesizes community-nursing principles with a population-based approach addressing issues such as teen pregnancy, student health, substance use, and homelessness.


As our senior population increases, more opportunities are available for CH-PH nurses to promote health and prevent disease among older adults, especially those over age 85. Healthy People 2010 reports that in the United States in 1998, approximately two-thirds of community residents aged 85 and older had been immunized against influenza and 40% were vaccinated against pneumonia. (The National Health Promotion and Disease Prevention target for 2010 is 90% for each.) In 1997, only 12% of adults aged 65 and older participated in at least one health promotion activity, such as an exercise class. (The 2010 target is 90%). Older people fare worse in public health efforts aimed at adults in general. For example, in 1998, close to 50% of adults aged 18 to 44 had received formal diabetes education compared with only 27% of adults aged 75 years and older. (The 2010 target is 60%).


CH-PH nursing can yield significant improvements in health outcomes among older adults. However, the development of public health programs for this population is hampered by insufficient data on the number, distribution, and preparation of nurses who work in community and public health settings and an almost total lack of information about CH-PH nurses in particular. Nurses constitute the largest group of health care professionals practicing in public health. Moses reports that of the approximately 280,000 nurses in CH-PH nursing in 1996, about 60,000 worked in state or local health departments.


If we are to address the nation's pressing public health needs, specifically those of older adults, efforts to more accurately describe CH-PH nurses are critical.-Mathy Mezey EdD, RN, FAAN


Sources: Department of Health and Human Services. Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion. Healthy people 2010 [Web site]. 2000.; Moses EB. The registered nurse population: March 1997. Findings from the National Sample Survey of Registered Nurses. Rockville (MD): Department of Health and Human Services; 1996; Gebbie KM, Hwang I. Preparing currently employed public health nurses for changes in the health system. Am J Public Health 2000;90(5):716-21.


Preparing the Nursing Workforce. Articles to read:

Gebbie KM, Hwang I. Preparing currently employed public health nurses for changes in the health system. Am J Public Health 2000;90(5):716-21.


Mezey M, et al. Enhancing geriatric nursing scholarship: specialization versus generalization. J Gerontol Nurs 2000;26(7):28-35.


Section Description

Nursing Counts appears in the American Journal of Nursing as a periodic column provided by the Hartford Institute for Geriatric Nursing, the Division of Nursing, New York University, New York City.