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Articulating the Culture and Tradition of Community Health Nursing

Authors

  • Lee SmithBattle R.N., D.N.Sc.,

    1. Lee SmithBattle is an Assistant Professor of Nursing at Saint Louis University, St. Louis, Missouri. Margaret Diekemper is an Assistant Professor of Nursing at Maryville University, St. Louis, Missouri. Mary Ann Drake is an Associate Professor at Webster University, St. Louis, Missouri.
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  • Margaret Diekemper R.N.C., M.S.N.,

    1. Lee SmithBattle is an Assistant Professor of Nursing at Saint Louis University, St. Louis, Missouri. Margaret Diekemper is an Assistant Professor of Nursing at Maryville University, St. Louis, Missouri. Mary Ann Drake is an Associate Professor at Webster University, St. Louis, Missouri.
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Mary Ann Drake R.N., Ph.D.

    1. Lee SmithBattle is an Assistant Professor of Nursing at Saint Louis University, St. Louis, Missouri. Margaret Diekemper is an Assistant Professor of Nursing at Maryville University, St. Louis, Missouri. Mary Ann Drake is an Associate Professor at Webster University, St. Louis, Missouri.
    Search for more papers by this author

Address correspondence to Lee SmithBattle, Assistant Professor, Saint Louis University, 3525 Caroline St., St. Louis, MO 63104–1099.

Abstract

While community health nursing (CHN) leaders speculate about the future, nurses on the front lines care for vulnerable families and populations in the midst of diminishing resources, radical changes in health care delivery systems, and unwieldy bureaucracies. Narrative data from a recent interpretive study provided an unexpected opportunity to explore how CHN practice in diverse settings is evolving in response to such changes. Data consisted of interviews and observations of 25 nurses in their practice setting. Several clinical stories or exemplars are selected to highlight how the “culture” of agency settings shapes public health nursing (PHN) practice in ways that need to be recognized and strengthened or affirmed. Clinical storytelling can play a crucial role in preserving the PHN tradition and restoring and transforming local cultures when PHNs, administrators, educators, and researchers commit to PHN excellence.

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