• childhood vaccination;
  • information;
  • mass media;
  • public health nurse

Scand J Caring Sci; 2012; 26; 271–278

Public health nurses’ barriers and facilitators to the use of research in consultations about childhood vaccinations

The aim of this study was to describe sources of information, as well as barriers and facilitators to the use of research during consultations by public health nurses concerning childhood vaccinations. The study was conducted using semi-structured focus group interviews in a grounded theory approach. Overall 16 public health nurses participated into three focus groups conducted in 2008. We found that the public health nurses’ most important sources of information were the National guidelines and other information issued by the National Institute of Public Health. Although they argued that research was important for being able to base practice on solid information, for their own professional development and for meeting parents’ demands, they were reluctant to search for such information themselves. This was explained by beliefs about their own role, limited critical appraisal skills and perceived capacity. We conclude with that insight into how knowledge is produced and how to obtain such information is not only a necessity for good quality health care and professional development, but is also a way to address challenges such as time, overload of information and the ability to answer questions parents may have. More emphasis should be given to empowering public health nurses so they can find and critically appraise research, and this should be an integrated part of practice.