The cultivation of public health nurses in China began in the period of Republic of China. This paper discussed people's understanding of the training of public health nurses by combing the materials of newspapers, periodicals and books at that time. People pointed out the importance and urgency of the training of public health nurses, and proposed that the core competence should cover the aspects of knowledge, skills and spirit. The discussion on the training mode of public health nurses focused on the scale of enrollment, the curriculum, and the localization of education. These understandings can provide enlightenment for restarting the cultivation of public health nurses, inheriting and exploiting the core competence of public health nurses, and the cultivation meets the needs of reality, which have an positive historical function and practical reference significance.