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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Client perceptions of a street nurse clinic : a qualitative study Hobbs, Rhodina Marie


The purpose of this study was to discover and understand client perceptions of the Cammy LaFleur Street Clinic (CLSC). The CLSC was a harm reduction strategy that offered health and social care to people living homeless and near homeless in a region known as the North Okanagan, in British Columbia Canada. This naturalistic inquiry utilized qualitative description as its methodology. Twelve clients participated in audio-taped, semi-structured, face-to-face interviews. Eleven interviews were transcribed verbatim and analyzed using constant comparison analysis. Clients described care found at the CLSC according to four distinct, yet interdependent themes: place, mattering, ability to meet ones’ own needs, and being ‘OK’. Clients perceived the CLSC to be a safe and inclusive place. Their perceptions of mattering were shaped by the trust they had in the staff’s understanding, acceptance, willingness to care for them, and to be there for them. Free and unconditional access to information, basic supplies, and referrals to health and social care and community-based helping initiatives, promoted independence and the development of self-compassion, strengths, and motivation for health and wellness. The findings of this study reveal that there is more to be gained by drawing on the expertise of people than by shaming them into silence. Clients of the CLSC gave voice to the benefits of being recognized and acknowledged for knowing what was needed to support them in health and wellness. An understanding of their experiences and perceptions may give nursing the foundation to develop a strength-based model of care specific to vulnerable populations. It would be one focused on mattering and the elements of care that promote perceptions of mattering.

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