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Public Health Nursing Resources

These resources will be useful for new and veteran public health nurses working in local and Tribal health departments (LTHD). Expand the topic areas below to find out more.

Guidelines for Hiring Nurses at Health Departments (PDF)
If you are unsure the nurse that interviewed for your open public health nurse (PHN) position meets the state statute definition of a public health nurse, use this flowchart to help navigate if the individual meets criteria.

For more assistance on this topic reach out to the public health nurse consultant team at

Individuals wishing to sign up for notifications from DHS can find a number of lists to receive email updates or follow the Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS) on social media, by clicking on the icons on the bottom of any GovDelivery bulletin.

Local health department staff can sign up for the Local Public Health Department Staff list. Much of the information specific to LTHDs comes from this list. There will be a “Pending Approval” message until the staff position is verified. Once verified, you will begin to receive the GovDelivery messages.

PHNs can sign up for a PHN-specific list in addition to the general staff list. Staff who have signed up for the listserv can also sign up for other lists that are accessible to the general public.

Wisconsin has communicable disease reporting requirements and LTHD departments play an important role in the control of communicable disease. Use the following resources to assist with communicable disease reporting.

Wisconsin Immunization Registry (WIR) is an online database of immunizations for Wisconsin residents. PHNs use WIR to review client records prior to immunizing, sending reminder recall letters for needed vaccines, and ordering vaccines for clinic. Connect with your regional Immunization Program representative with questions or training needs.

Schools and childcare requirements along with other immunization related topics are available on the immunization program website.

Prevention and healthy living resources hub is available for exploring topics of interest or to assist in your prevention work.

Topics used frequently by LTHDs include:

Being prepared and planning for all types of emergencies is a priority of LTHDs. Resources such as educational topics, trainings, and access to other preparedness resources are available at the Health Emergency Preparedness and Response section of the DHS website.

American Nurses Association Scope and Standards of Practice publications

Nursing: Scope and Standards of Practice informs and guides nurses in their vital work providing safe, high-quality, and competent care.

Public Health Nursing: Scope and Standards of Practice provides essential guidance in the form of standards and competencies for the generalist and the advanced public health nurse.

Public Health Nursing Competencies

Public Health Nursing Competencies (PDF) breaks down the knowledge, skills, and behaviors that public health nurses should have or be working towards. The competencies can be used to do a self-assessment and identify gaps to assist with training needs identification.

Public Health Intervention Wheel

Public health nurses use the Nursing Intervention Wheel to define the scope of public health nursing practice by the type of intervention and the level of practice (individual/family, community, or systems). Regardless of the site or the population, this core set of interventions represents public health nursing as a specialty practice of nursing.

Wisconsin Public Health Association (WPHA)

WPHA is the largest membership organization of public health professionals in Wisconsin and is an affiliate of the American Public Health Association. Connect through the WPHA website and social media. You can join the WPHA PHN section by going to My Profile on the right-hand side of the screen, clicking on “Groups,” and then clicking on “Sections” under “Group Permissions.”

The Public Health in Practice (PHiP) conference is targeted for professionals working in both governmental and non-governmental public health positions. Attendees will walk away with specific skills and usable tools to execute strategies to improve community or workplace health through systems-change thinking, evidence-based practices, and capacity building.

American and Wisconsin Nurses Association (ANA and WNA)

The ANA and WNA are the premier organization representing the interests of the nation’s and Wisconsin’s registered nurses. Both ANA and WNA advance the nursing profession by fostering high standards of nursing practice, promoting a safe and ethical work environment, bolstering the health and wellness of nurses, and advocating on health care issues that affect nurses and the public. Any RN can be a member.

Association of Public Health Nurses (APHN)

APHN is the only national organization specifically for public health nurses. APHN works to protect and promote the health and safety of the public by fostering high public health nursing practice standards, promoting, and providing educational opportunities, and advancing the public health nursing role. The annual conference is usually held in April. Connect through the APHN website, email (, or with the Wisconsin representative.

Alliance of Nurses for Healthy Environments (ANHE)

ANHE is the only national nursing organization focused solely on the intersection of health and the environment. ANHE promotes healthy people and healthy environments by educating and leading the nursing profession, advancing research, incorporating evidence-based practice, and influencing policy. Connect through their ANHE website or email (

The Council of Public Health Nursing Organization

The Council of Public Health Nursing Organizations mission is to unite and amplify the authoritative voice of public health nurses, expanding their influence and impact to promote equitable health for all.

Last revised July 25, 2023