Worcester State University

Worcester State University

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OVErview of the Curriculum Innovation

Worcester State University offers their public health nursing program at the Master’s level only. Their program began in 2008 and has between 7-10 graduates yearly. Their curriculum is based on the Quad Council’s Scope Standards Public Health Nursing and APHA’s 10 Essential Public Health Services. The curriculum strives to support student competency in each area of the Public Health Nursing Scope of Standards of Practice (2007). The program is small which allows for flexibility in student schedules; they also offer blended courses. One unique fact is that the curriculum has a heavy emphasis on environmental health which correlates well with public health. Their field practicum consists of 500 hours (2 courses 250 hours each) at the end of each program. The student is issued a student handbook that describes the practicum in detail. At the beginning of the practicum students and faculty develop a “learning contract” (a self-evaluation of the student to decide what the practicum will look like, students learning outcomes, and deliverables, identification of focus interests and standards students are trying to achieve competency in). The local or state level public health agencies (ex. Mass League of Community Health Centers) identify and share their needs with the nursing school. The school then matches the agency and the student based on the agency’s needs and the student’s interests. The student is then assigned to complete the clinical practicum component of the course. The uniqueness in this assignment is that these students are most frequently sent to agencies where there are no other nurses. This allows the student to develop leadership skills and the ability to develop independent roles (i.e. Student was assigned to an agency to develop an implementation plan based on Massachusetts’s new law making it illegal to dispose of needles, syringes or lancets in regular trash. The student developed an innovative implementation plan that is now being used in 5 towns in this state).

Interesting facts: Nursing school students have been awarded stipends from the local public health agencies for their practicums. Student often get published after completing the program (80%).


Students are expected to develop a portfolio demonstrating outcomes and examples of activities completed corresponding with the expected outcomes stated in the beginning of their practicum. The faculty and preceptor perform a mid-term evaluation of the student, very basic just based on satisfaction with student and progress toward achieving SLOs and goals.

Please contact Dr. Chalupka if you would like examples or templates of the curriculum materials.


  • Course Packets are developed with scholarly publications (environmental readings as well)
  • Text Book-Caring and Community Concepts and Models for Service-Learning in Nursing
  • Text Book- Acting Locally Concepts in Environmental Studies


Stephanie Chalupka, EdD, RN, PHCNS-BC, FAAOHN
Worcester State University