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Role and working conditions of nurses in public health in Mexico and Peru: a binational qualitative study

Authors

  • Maria Isabel Peñarrietade De Córdova PhD,

    Professor, Corresponding author
    1. Universidad Autónoma de Tamaulipas, Facultad de Enfermeria UAT Madero, Tamaulipas, México
    • Correspondence

      Maria Isabel Peñarrieta de Córdova

      Universidad Autónoma de Tamaulipas

      Facultad de Enfermeria UAT Madero

      Rivas Guillen Nro 600. Cd. Madero

      Tamaulipas

      México

      E-mail: pcordoba@uat.edu.mx; ipdc_05@yahoo.com.mx

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  • Nelda Mier PhD,

    Associate Professor
    1. Texas, A&M Health Science Centre, School of Rural Public Health, McAllen, TX, USA
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  • Nora Hilda Gonzales Quirarte,

    Professor
    1. Mg. de Enfermería con mención en Enfermería Comunitaria Universidad Autónoma de Tamaulipas, Facultad de Enfermeria UAT Madero, Tamaulipas, México
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  • Tranquilina Gutiérrez Gómez,

    Professor
    1. Mg. de Enfermería con mención en Enfermería Comunitaria Universidad Autónoma de Tamaulipas, Facultad de Enfermeria UAT Madero, Tamaulipas, México
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  • Socorro Piñones MPH, RN,

    Professor
    1. Universidad Autónoma de Tamaulipas, Facultad de Enfermeria UAT Madero, Tamaulipas, México
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  • Alejandro Borda MPH

    Supervisor
    1. Oficina de Gestión y Desarrollo de la Red Asistencial Almenara Hospital, Lima, Peru
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Abstract

Aim

This exploratory study conducted in Mexico and Peru investigated nurses' perceptions about their role in public health and working conditions.

Background

Health reform efforts in many countries are redefining the role of health professionals in public health. Little is known about the role of nurses working in public health contexts in Latin America.

Method

Fourteen focus groups were conducted in Mexico and Peru with 82 nurses working in government-sponsored community health centres. Data were analysed using a content analysis technique.

Findings

Themes identified were: nurses' job descriptions in public health settings; organisational factors influencing the nurses' work, and influence of academic and social image factors.

Conclusion

Management barriers and limited training influences the role and working conditions of public health nurses in Mexico and Peru.

Implications for nursing management

The professional role of nurses working in public health in Latin America is not well defined because of the health-care system infrastructure and the lack of a clear public health nurse job description. Further research is needed to better understand the role of public health nurses and strengthen their training, particularly in relation to nursing management encompassing abilities for decision-making processes and public health program planning and evaluation.

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