Barriers and facilitators to the achievement of community-focused public health nursing practice: a UK perspective

Authors

  • BRENDA POULTON BA(hons), MSc, PhD, RGN, RSCPHN

    1. Professor of Community Health Nursing, Institute of Nursing Research, School of Nursing, University of Ulster, Newtownabbey, Co. Antrim, UK
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Brenda Poulton
Institute of Nursing Research
School of Nursing
University of Ulster
Shore Road
Newtownabbey
Co. Antrim
BT37 OQB
UK
E-mail: bc.poulton@ulster.ac.uk

Abstract

Aim  To explore the extent to which Community Health Nurses (CHN) engage in community-focused public health practice and the facilitators and barriers to such practice.

Background  The government promotes the role of nurses in public health. However, there is confusion as to what constitutes public health; a lack of support to move from individual and family-focused practice to community-focused practice; and, inconsistency of the use of titles.

Method  A 15% quota sample (n = 409), drawn from a population of 2668 CHNs, participated in a quantitative survey.

Results  Response rate was 67% (n = 275). Over half of CHN time was spent with individuals and families, community level activity accounting for only 18%. Only 9% of respondents had completed a community needs assessment. Education was key to the promotion of community-focused practice with collection of individual activity data a major barrier.

Conclusions  There is a gap between the rhetoric and reality of community public health nursing.

Implications for Nursing Management  Development of a shared vision of public health nursing and commissioning of education to meet public health priorities is essential. Furthermore, strengthening public health nurse leadership to foster innovative practice and methods of measuring public health nursing outcomes is required.

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