The role of nursing partnership interventions in improving the health of disadvantaged women
This paper describes a project which assessed the contribution that nursing professionals are making to improving the health of deprived women living in Northern Ireland. The study is set within the context of the Targeting Health and Social Need (THSN) Initiative an important theme within the Northern Ireland Regional Strategy entitled Health and Well-being into the Next Millennium — A Regional Strategy for Health and Social Well-being 1997–2002 which is concerned with addressing inequalities in health status and social well-being. The paper describes the results of a survey (n=1000, response rate 39%) and the criteria used to select 22 interventions to provide evidence of ‘effective practice’ within THSN. The study highlights the work of previous reviews in the area and provides evidence concerning effective interventions in practice. Although the interventions described may be lacking in ‘pure scientific’ method and may not meet the rigorous inclusion criteria of systematic review methodologies, there is evidence to suggest that nurses are using well-designed more qualitative evaluation methods and demonstrating improvements in health and social need for women in the lowest socio-economic groups. In terms of equity the case studies show that community nursing may be a powerful vehicle for researching people previously neglected by the formal health care system. Health policies such as THSN can now articulate the methods needed for reform or change, setting directions and articulating the barriers to implementation and achievement.