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On the first day of public health clinical, the PHN preceptor, Gail, has three nursing students pull up the latest report on sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC, 2016). The facts are startling. The U.S. now has the highest total number of cases of chlamydia, gonorrhea, and syphilis in its history. However, in recent years, more than half of state and local STD programs have had budget cuts. “Since our STD clinic has closed due to funding cuts, I really need your help in creating a prevention and treatment campaign.”

Gail is clear about the urgency. “Chlamydia is the most commonly reported communicable disease in our region. The incidence has quadrupled since 1996. In addition, our region has seen a recent spike in babies born with congenital syphilis.” She explains that the ideal campaign would include a poster for people waiting in the public health clinic and some sort of social media outreach to promote awareness of STDs and sexual health.

The three students assess their own strengths. Emily gives great presentations in class, Hannah is a skilled writer of academic papers, and Darius is the “techie” of their group. They review their materials for population-based health nursing competency #7, which focuses on communication. They realize that clearly defining their target audiences is key, including learning about their values, needs, and health literacy. Unique aspects of writing and creating a poster and pamphlet need to be considered. Emily wants to create a short online presentation and needs to explore digital tools (such as PowerPoint, VoiceThread, YouTube, podcasts, and Prezi). Darius quickly finds many online resources but needs to evaluate them carefully for accuracy, functionality, and relevance to the specific audience.

STUDENT NOTEBOOK: COMPETENCY #7 Effectively Communicates With Communities, Systems, Individuals, Families, and Colleagues

  1. Interacts respectfully, sensitively, and effectively with everyone

  2. Utilizes sound teaching/learning strategies that tailor communication to target individual, family, community, organizational, or system audiences

  3. Selects appropriate communication methods to reach target audience(s)

  4. Presents accurate demographic, statistical, programmatic, and scientific information

Source: Henry Street Consortium, 2017


Health Literacy: “The degree to which individuals have the capacity to obtain, process, and understand basic health information and services needed to make appropriate health decisions” (Ratzan & Parker, 2000, p. 36).

Motivational Interviewing: A counseling technique that focuses on behavioral change through emphasizing a side-by-side companionable approach that supports the client's own values and reasons for change, in contrast to a traditional approach of expert provider and passive recipient (Miller, 2004).

Social Marketing: The use of “commercial marketing principles and technologies, for programs developed to influence the knowledge, attitudes, values, beliefs, behaviors, and practices of the population of interest” (Keller, Strohschein, Lia-Hoagberg, & Schaffer, 2004, p. 456).

Tailoring: Using information about client characteristics to design communication of content that is more relevant to the client (Hawkins, Kreuter, Resnicow, Fishbein, & Dijkstra, 2008).

Targeting: Messages ...

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