Giving and receiving: an empirically derived theory on health visiting practice



The aim of this study was to uncover how experienced health visitors conceptualize and evaluate their health visiting work The grounded theory approach to data collection and analysis was used to develop a beginning midrange substantive theory about health visiting practice The beginning theory provides an explanation and understanding of how health visitors work with clients in the community during their day-to-day visiting practice Data were gathered from 45 experienced health visitors from 13 health authorities in the north-west of England by means of the conversational interview The basic psychosocial problem uncovered in the data was health visitors’ need to provide a service and clients’ need to fulfil personal needs and goals The unifying theme of giving and receiving integrated the major categories into the key analytic framework in this study This key psychosocial process was the pattern of interaction between health visitors and clients, in which both parties control the interactions by regulating what they offer and accept from each other Each party both selectively ‘gives’ and ‘receives’ in order to manage the health visitor-client encounters What gets offered and how the offer is received and acted on is a complex process involving many factors related to the health visitor, the client, and the context in which the interaction takes place