publichealthcompetenciesarticle - Public Health Worker...

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73 J Public Health Management Practice , 2002, 8(3), 73–81 © 2002 Aspen Publishers, Inc. Public Health Worker Competencies for Emergency Response Kristine Gebbie and Jacqueline Merrill Kristine Gebbie, DrPH, RN , is Elizabeth Standish Gill Associate Professor of Nursing and Director, Center for Health Policy, Columbia University School of Nursing, New York, New York. Jacqueline Merrill, MPH, RN, C , is Project Manager, Center for Health Policy, Columbia University School of Nursing, New York, New York. This project was supported by CDC/Association of Teachers of Preventive Medicine Cooperative (ATPM) Agreement No. TS 322 15/16. The authors wish to acknowledge the contributions of Rula Btoush, RN, MSN, and Meera Gupta, MPH, in preparing this manuscript. Emergency preparedness is an expectation of public health organizations and an expectation of individual public health practitioners. Organizational performance standards for public health agencies have been developed during the last several years, providing a foundation for the development of competency statements to guide individual practice in public health program areas, like emergency response. This article provides results from a project that developed emergency preparedness and response competencies for individual public health workers. Documentation of the qualitative research methods used, which include competency validation with the practice community, can be applied to competency development in other areas of public health practice. Key words: competency, emergency preparedness, emergency response, practice standards, public health competencies, public health practice, workforce development Introduction As increasing attention is paid nationally to the potential for bioterrorism and emerging infectious diseases, as well as to urgent situations caused by natural forces such as hurricanes, tornadoes, floods, or earthquakes, public health organizations have joined other emergency responders in efforts to en- sure that response is both timely and appropriate, whatever the event. From this perspective, emer- gency preparedness is both an expectation of public health organizations and an expectation of indi- vidual members of the public health workforce. The expected organizational performance standards in this area of practice have been drafted and continue to be refined. 1 The project reported here identified individual worker competencies necessary for an or- ganization to meet these organizational performance standards. The competency statements thus are complementary to the performance standards, though many competencies are not specific to one organization or program. Competencies may be defined in the following ways: • a complex combination of knowledge, skills, and abilities demonstrated by organization members that are critical to the effective and ef- ficient function of the organization 2 • a combination of observable and measurable
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publichealthcompetenciesarticle - Public Health Worker...

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