The Ottawa Charter—from nursing theory to practice: Insights from the area of alcohol and other drugs

Authors

  • Morgan Smith RN, BN, MED,

    1. Lecturer, Nursing, University of South Australia, AustraliaDirector, Nursing and Intervention Services, Drug and Alcohol Services Council, Parkside, South Australia, Australia
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  • Lynette Cusack RN, BN, MH Admin, MRCN

    1. Lecturer, Nursing, University of South Australia, AustraliaDirector, Nursing and Intervention Services, Drug and Alcohol Services Council, Parkside, South Australia, Australia
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Correspondence: MorganSmithLecturer University of South Australia, Division of Health Sciences, School of Nursing and Midwifery, City East Campus, North Terrace, Adelaide, South Australia 5000, Australia. Fax: 83022579; Email: morgan.smith@unisa.ed.au

Abstract

This article aims to assist nursing services to use the Ottawa Charter as a framework for nursing practice. Incorporation of the Ottawa Charter for Health Promotion into a nursing structure constitutes an innovation in nursing practice that was evaluated as a quality improvement exercise in a health-care organization responsible for providing services in the area of alcohol and other drugs. The evaluation consisted of two stages and sought to identify the degree to which the framework was effective in practice. This involved identifying issues surrounding the implementation of the Ottawa Charter as a framework for nursing practice as well as identifying the means by which quality improvements could occur. The evaluation involved an initial questionnaire to all nursing staff, followed by a series of focus groups. The data collected was both informative and enlightening and revealed a range of pertinent issues such as staff understanding and interpretation of the Ottawa Charter, expansion of the nurse’s role and suggestions for organizational change. The Ottawa Charter strategies are discussed in relation to their relevance to the organization under evaluation and also expanded into recommendations to assist those contemplating using the Ottawa Charter as a framework for nursing practice. There was considerable agreement among the respondents that the Ottawa Charter provided a useful framework for nursing practice, but was on occasions problematic.

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