UBC Theses and Dissertations
The value of community health nursing : a phenomenological study of the perceptions of community health nurses Leipert, Beverly Diane
This study explores and describes the value of community health nursing from the perspective of community health nurses. The phenomenological method as defined by Colaizzi (1978) guided this exploration. Eleven community health nurses from the health department of a large urban center participated in the study. Each nurse held a baccalaureate degree in nursing and had a minimum of two years of community health nursing experience in preventive health care programs. The researcher collected the data through a series of interviews. Each nurse was interviewed at least twice. Interviews were taped and transcribed verbatim. Interviews were analyzed to determine areas for clarification and exploration, to discover themes, and to determine data saturation. From continuous comparative analysis of the data, five themes emerged: (1) the value of activities in community health nursing, (2) the value of the purposes of community health nursing, (3) the value of prerequisites for community health nursing, (4) the value of the visibility of community health nursing, and (5) the value of community health nursing as the way to the future in health care. In the first theme, participants primarily valued multiple and varied activities which enabled and empowered clients to make informed health care decisions, choices, and actions. Subthemes included collaborative activities and autonomy. The second theme described the purposes of community health nursing as they relate to various clients, the context of practice, and the holistic vision of health. The third theme described the value of certain prerequisites for community health nursing. Participants identified two categories of prerequisites - knowledge, and certain personal qualities and attitudes. In the fourth theme, the value of the visibility of community health nursing, subthemes included: awareness, valuing, and effective use of community health nursing services by others, and political visibility. In the fifth theme, community health nursing as the way to the future in health care, subthemes included: the preventive focus and cost-effectiveness bases of community health nursing, and the value of research. The findings of this study have implications for community health nursing practice, administration, education, and research. In nursing practice, community health nursing roles and activities must be more clearly defined and promoted so that the value of community health nursing can be more fully realized. Administrators must support nursing staff and actively facilitate effective community health nursing practice. Nursing education must prepare professional nursing practitioners who have the knowledge and the ability to successfully practice community health nursing. All nurses must be encouraged In their education to appreciate the value of community health nursing so that the quality and quantity of community health care is facilitated in all nursing settings. All aspects of professional nursing - practice, administration, education, and research - must promote community health nursing research. Further research is required into the value of community health nursing from a variety of perspectives, such as the perspectives of nurses in other settings, clients, and colleagues. Research into these perspectives will likely achieve a clearer consensus of the value of community health nursing, and foster present and future community health nursing endeavors. As a consequence, the health care of Canadians could be addressed more effectively and efficiently.