Public Health Portfolio

The American Nurse Credentialing Center (ANCC) has moved to a portfolio program for credentialing advanced public health nurses.

The last applications for the Advanced Public Health Nursing certification through exam were accepted December 31, 2013. Eligible applicants may test until July 31, 2014. Moving forward, nurses with a graduate degree may now achieve this certification through portfolio.

The portfolio application and actual portfolio is submitted electronically but applicants may log on and off multiple times before finalizing their work.

Advanced public health nursing will now join the emergency nurse practitioner and advanced forensics nursing programs in offering certification by portfolio.

ANCC’s director of certification services Marianne Horahan, MBA, MPH, RN, CPHQ, said the organization expects to develop a portfolio program for faith community nursing and advanced genetic nursing within the next year.

“Certification through examination requires a larger pool of candidates than does a portfolio program,” she explained.

“It is important to note, however, that the candidate pool for certification through portfolio must also have a viable population to ensure sufficient engagement of content experts in assessment development as well as ongoing psychometric monitoring.

“Generally speaking, the pool of candidates can be smaller for a portfolio assessment than for an examination program, as long as accreditation standards are met regarding engagement during development and ongoing psychometric monitoring of the program.”

Portfolio Requirements

Portfolios will be peer-reviewed by experts in the specialty and must document:

  • Education by means of degree-conferred transcripts;
  • Professional development activities and CEs earned in the past three years;
  • Performance evaluations by a supervisor or peer; and
  • A self-evaluation of performance;
  • Evidence in an exemplar (clinical narrative of nursing practice) of the nurse’s record/accomplishments in:
    – Professional and Ethical Nursing Practice
    – Quality and Safety
    – Teamwork and Collaboration.

Test-phobic nurses may rejoice at this development but Horahan said the applicant’s portfolio should be an equally thorough representation of an aspiring advanced public health nurse’s understanding and application of professional nursing practice. The clinical narrative may not exceed 8,000 characters – approximately 1,250 words.

“The expectation is that nurses incorporate information and real-life examples that describe their accomplishments in three domains: professional and ethical nursing practice, quality and safety, and teamwork and collaboration. Appraisers evaluate sources of evidence related to these domains against pre-established screening criteria,” she said.

The domains are weighed as follows:

I. Professional Development


II. Professional and Ethical Nursing Practice


III. Teamwork and Collaboration


IV. Quality and Safety






Clearly, professional and ethical nursing practice comprise the bulk of the portfolio. Advanced public health nurses are expected to demonstrate a mastery of ecological perspectives as related to environmental, social, biological and behavioral determinants of health, culturally responsive care, systems thinking, partnering with communities, epidemiology (surveillance, investigation) principles, population-level interventions and outcomes, leveraging policy and comprehensively evaluating public health services.

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