The feasibility of a nurse practitioner-led primary health care clinic in a school setting: a community needs analysis
Aim. The aim of this New Zealand study was to determine the feasibility of establishing a nurse practitioner-led, family focused, primary health care clinic within a primary school environment as a means of addressing the health needs of children and families. A secondary aim was to ascertain whether public health nurses (PHNs) were the most appropriate nurses to lead such a clinic.
Method. Utilizing a community needs analysis method, data were collected from three sources – known demographic data, 17 key informant interviews and two focus group interviews. Questions were asked regarding the health needs of the community, the perceptions of participants regarding the role of the PHN, and the practicalities of establishing a clinic including the services participants would expect a clinic to provide. Analysis was exploratory and descriptive.
Results. Findings included the identification of a wide range of health issues. These included asthma management and control issues, the need to address poor parenting, and specific problems of the refugee and migrant population. Findings also demonstrated that participant understanding of the role of the PHN was less than anticipated and that community expectations were such that for a PHN to lead a primary health care clinic it would be likely that further skills would be required. Outcomes from investigating the practicalities of establishing a nurse practitioner-led clinic resulted in the preparation of a community-developed plan that would serve to address the health needs of children and families in the area the study was undertaken. Services that participants identified as being appropriate included health information, health education, health assessment and referral.
Conclusion. Overall findings indicated that the establishment of a nurse practitioner-led, family focused, primary health care clinic in a primary school environment was feasible. While a PHN may fulfil the role of the nurse practitioner, it was established that preparation to an advanced level of practice would be required.