The prime aim of the study was to develop the child-care and education guidance provided by public health nurses at health centres for parents of children aged 1 or 2. The research was partly carried out according to the principles of action research. The researcher's purpose was to influence the public health nurses' child-care and education guidance by designing measures and forms for the documentation and evaluation of the development, environment, and care practices of children aged 1 or 2. Methods were improved by the collaboration between the researcher and the nurses in the course of the research. In addition, the investigator designed a child-care and guidance programme for parents of such children. The premise of the public health nurse's action was the WHO's process model for nursing.
The study focused on public health nurses and on children aged 1–2 and their parents. The overall action model of the public health nurses (needs assessment, goal-setting, implementation of action and evaluation) improved in the course of the experiment. The methods facilitated the implementation of action and provided it with clear objectives. The reliability and validity of the methods were reasonably high. The parents of the experimental group felt significantly more often than those of the control group that they had obtained information about the development, care, and education of the child aged 1–2 from the public health nurses. The guidance had also helped the parents solve child rearing problems. The level of development in the children of the experimental group was higher than that of the control group at 24 months, in certain areas.