North Carolina Institute for Public Health

Physical Assessment of Adults and STD Nurse Clinician Training Combined Practicum Course

Fall 2023 Course Details

Applications:  This course is offered twice per year. Cohorts typically start in August (fall cohort) and December (spring cohort). Applications for the fall 2023 cohort will open in May.

Course Fees: The total cost for the PAA/STD Combined course is $1,160. (See the Course Fees section below). The first installment payment is due with registration, shortly after the application deadline.

Time Commitment: Plan to spend approximately 10 hours per week to focus on this course. This estimate is just a guideline. Some students may need more (or less) time. The course is taught fully online except for one two-day on-site session in Chapel Hill, N.C.

Course Dates: The instructional portion of the course will run from August 2023 to March 2024, followed by a five-month practicum at the student’s home health department. For an example of the course schedule, see the Spring 2023 Course Schedule (pdf).



Nursing studentsSuccessful completion of this course and the five-month clinical practicum qualifies public health nurses for dual certification from the N.C. Division of Public Health as a Physical Assessment of Adults (PAA) Enhanced Role RN and Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STD) Enhanced Role RN.

The Physical Assessment of Adults (PAA) part of this course:

  • Prepares nurses to obtain health histories and perform physical assessments of adults.
  • Enables nurses to screen for breast and cervical cancer.

The most common PAA ERRN role is within the NC Breast and Cervical Cancer Control Program (NCBCCCP) and WISEWOMAN (Well-Integrated Screening and Evaluation in Women Across the Nation) program. Health departments also use PAA ERRNs for refugee health clinics or other adult health clinics.

The STD part of this course:

  • Prepares nurses to conduct adult STD examinations (with the clinical supervision of a licensed medical provider) to reach patients in their local communities who are at high risk for STDs.

PAA and STD are typically taken together, but it is possible to take just one of the two. Please contact the course director if you are interested in more information about taking only a portion of the course.

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Jean Davison, RN, DNP, FNP-BC

Jean is a Family Nurse Practitioner, a Clinical Associate Professor at the UNC School of Nursing, and a Nursing Education Specialist with the North Carolina Institute for Public Health (NCIPH).
View instructor bio.

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Format and Objectives

Part 1: Physical Assessment of Adults

Part 1 is a blended learning environment consisting of online learning and a required two-day on-site instructor-led training in Chapel Hill, N.C. The online learning is both facilitated (through ‘live’ instructor-led webinars), and self-paced (through pre-recorded webinars). In addition, participation in the onsite skills practice session in Chapel Hill (noted above) is required. Student assignments will include: reading assignments, video assignments, homework assignments, clinical assignments, quizzes and a final exam.

Part 2: STD Nurse Clinician Training

Part 2 is an online learning environment consisting mostly of self-paced modules. Students will have quizzes and a final exam. In addition, students must complete the corequisite course noted below.

Part 3: PAA/STD Combined Practicum

Part 3 consists of students working through their practicum requirements in their home health department and completing their final skills check-off evaluation with a clinical skills examiner.


After completion of this course, participants will be able to:

  • Identify and document an age-appropriate health history; assess signs, symptoms, and risk factors; utilize the Problem Oriented Health Record.
  • Demonstrate a physical assessment.
  • Distinguish between normal, possibly normal, and abnormal conditions.
  • Describe and record the assessment findings in explicit terms.
  • Practice referring clients with possible abnormal or abnormal findings to appropriate medical care.
  • Plan for appropriate medical care and appropriate follow-up.
  • Demonstrate clinical management utilizing the nursing process and principles of health promotion/disease prevention for individuals and populations at risk.
  • Demonstrate and document an STD assessment.
  • Identify and treat specified STDs by standardized protocols and standing orders.
  • Develop a working knowledge of specimen collection and laboratory procedures as they relate to STD assessment and treatment.
  • Demonstrate STD patient education, risk reduction counseling and follow-up for STDs utilizing a client-centered approach.
  • Combine STD risk assessment into the patient assessment process.

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Before You Apply


The curriculum is designed for registered nurses who are currently working or who are preparing to work in clinics at North Carolina local health departments. Selection of applicant(s) is the responsibility of the local public health nurse supervisors and directors of nursing in cooperation with the communicable disease regional nurse consultants and the ERRN program director.

Prerequisites and Corequisite

Completion of all course requirements for Principles and Practices of Public Health Nursing or BSN degree is required before beginning this course.

Training in HIV counseling and testing is NOT offered in the context of this course. The North Carolina HIV Counseling, Testing and Referral Training must be completed prior to completion of the clinical practicum. Students can obtain the required training by completing one of the trainings offered through Whetstone Consultations.

Required Pre-Course Planning

Each student must arrange (through the regional nurse consultant with the Office of Public Health Nursing) for an on-site clinical advisor/preceptor and a clinical skills examiner. A Required Joint Planning Agreement(s) signed by the student, supervisor, clinical advisor/preceptor, clinical skills examiner and regional nurse consultant with the Office of Public Health Nursing must be completed by the start of course.

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Expectations of Students

For successful completion, participants must:

  • Attend all live webinar sessions (course schedule)
  • Complete the Required Joint Planning Agreement(s)
  • Complete all assignments by due date
  • Score at least 80% on final Part 1 PAA examination
  • Score at least 80% on final Part 2 STD examination
  • Complete Part 3 clinical practicum within five months
  • Pass the final practicum check-offs

Please plan to spend approximately 8-10 hours per week to focus on this course. For an example of a previous course schedule, see the Spring 2023 Course Schedule (pdf).

Note: Students cannot begin Part 2 STD until all PAA assignments and PAA final examination are successfully completed.

Students are permitted only one extension for the clinical practicum. After the one extension, the student must take the challenge exam in order to continue the clinical practicum.

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Continuing Education Units (CEUs) have been applied for through the William and Ida Friday Center for Continuing Education at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. A certificate of CEUs will be provided for each student upon successful completion of the clinical practicum. Registration information will be sent to the CEU Office at the Friday Center for Continuing Education at UNC-Chapel Hill where a permanent transcript of all CEU courses taken from UNC-Chapel Hill is maintained.

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To register, you must first submit an Application for Physical Assessment of Adults and STD Nurse Clinician Training Combined Practicum Course in order to verify that you have completed the necessary prerequisites. After your application is approved, you will be emailed the link to officially register for the course. The application must be signed by the student and his/her supervisor. Scan the approved application and send to Cherelle Whitfield at Find application deadlines at the top of this page.

If you have problems accessing or completing the application form, contact Shelley Hoekstra at

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Course Fees

After your application is approved, you will receive an email with a link to the online registration form. You must submit your registration and first payment on or before the designated due date in the email.


The course fee will be divided into two payments.

Total cost for the PAA/STD combined course is $1,160 ($885 first installment, $275 practicum).

PAA only = $775 ($500 first installment, $275 practicum)

STD only = $400 ($125  first installment, $275 practicum)

Contact the registrar for cost details: Shelley Hoekstra at

Checks should be made out to the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and sent to NCIPH, Campus Box 8165, UNC Chapel Hill, NC 27599-8165.

Important: The first registration fee payment must be received or postmarked no later than the designated due date or your registration will be CANCELED. Find registration and payment deadlines at the top of this page.

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Challenge Exam

Contact Jean Davison at for more information about the challenge exam or to see if you meet the requirements to challenge this course. The challenge fee is $275.

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More Information

For more information about the course application, registration or fees, contact course program manager Shelley Hoekstra at

For more information about the course schedule, curriculum or challenge process, contact course faculty Jean Davison at

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  • The Public Health Nursing Institute for Continuing Excellence
  • The North Carolina Institute for Public Health, The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Gillings School of Global Public Health


NCIPH’s educational programs reflect our organizational values as well as those of UNC Gillings. Diversity, inclusiveness and civility are core values and characteristics of the School.