Public Health Nursing Interventions to Improve the Use of a Health Service: Using a Pilot Study to Guide Research

Authors

  • Maija L. Selby Dr.P.H., R.N., C,

    Corresponding author
    1. Dr. Selby is Associate Professor and Director of Research, School of Nursing, University of North Carolina at Greensboro. Dr. Riportella-Muller is Research Assistant Professor, Department of Social Medicine, School of Medicine, and Research Associate Center for Health Promotion and Disease Prevention, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC-CH). Dr. Sorenson is Professor and Chair, Department of Health Behavior and Health Education, School of Public Health, UNC-CH. Dr. Quade is Professor
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  • Roberta Riportella-Muller Ph.D.,

    1. Dr. Selby is Associate Professor and Director of Research, School of Nursing, University of North Carolina at Greensboro. Dr. Riportella-Muller is Research Assistant Professor, Department of Social Medicine, School of Medicine, and Research Associate Center for Health Promotion and Disease Prevention, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC-CH). Dr. Sorenson is Professor and Chair, Department of Health Behavior and Health Education, School of Public Health, UNC-CH. Dr. Quade is Professor
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  • James R. Sorenson Ph.D.,

    1. Dr. Selby is Associate Professor and Director of Research, School of Nursing, University of North Carolina at Greensboro. Dr. Riportella-Muller is Research Assistant Professor, Department of Social Medicine, School of Medicine, and Research Associate Center for Health Promotion and Disease Prevention, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC-CH). Dr. Sorenson is Professor and Chair, Department of Health Behavior and Health Education, School of Public Health, UNC-CH. Dr. Quade is Professor
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  • Dana Quade Ph.D.,

    1. Dr. Selby is Associate Professor and Director of Research, School of Nursing, University of North Carolina at Greensboro. Dr. Riportella-Muller is Research Assistant Professor, Department of Social Medicine, School of Medicine, and Research Associate Center for Health Promotion and Disease Prevention, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC-CH). Dr. Sorenson is Professor and Chair, Department of Health Behavior and Health Education, School of Public Health, UNC-CH. Dr. Quade is Professor
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  • Mary M. Sappenfield M.P.H., R.N.,

    1. Department of Biostatistics, School of Public Health, UNC-CH. Ms. Sappenfield and Ms. Potter were graduate students in the Curriculum in Public Health Nursing, School of Public Health, UNC-CH, at the time of this study. Dr. Farel is Clinical Assistant Professor, Department of Maternal and Child Health, School of Public Health, UNC-CH.
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  • H. Belle Potter M.P.H., R.N.,

    1. Department of Biostatistics, School of Public Health, UNC-CH. Ms. Sappenfield and Ms. Potter were graduate students in the Curriculum in Public Health Nursing, School of Public Health, UNC-CH, at the time of this study. Dr. Farel is Clinical Assistant Professor, Department of Maternal and Child Health, School of Public Health, UNC-CH.
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  • Anita M. Farel Dr.P.H., M.S.W.

    1. Department of Biostatistics, School of Public Health, UNC-CH. Ms. Sappenfield and Ms. Potter were graduate students in the Curriculum in Public Health Nursing, School of Public Health, UNC-CH, at the time of this study. Dr. Farel is Clinical Assistant Professor, Department of Maternal and Child Health, School of Public Health, UNC-CH.
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Address correspondence to Dr. Maija L. Selby, School of Nursing, U.N.C.G., Greensboro, NC 27412.

Abstract

Abstract: This article demonstrates how a pilot study can provide useful direction for a research project. In planning a study to improve the use of the Early and Periodic Screening, Diagnosis, and Treatment (EPSDT) program for Medi-caid-eligible children, we tested our research methods and interventions (mailed pamphlets, telephone calls, home visits) on a small scale (N= 100) prior to implementing a large-scale (N > 2000) project. The issues and obstacles included obtaining cooperation from many agencies involved in administering the Medicaid program, addressing informed consent, assessing feasibility of methods for random sampling and random assignment, identifying sources of Medicaid data, designing and assessing validity and reliability of research tools, and testing the feasibility of implementing interventions in the field. Our experience may be particularly helpful for public health nurses who plan to investigate approaches to improve the use of services in federally mandated health programs where cooperation from federal, state, and local agencies is required.

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