Vision for the Future of Public Health Nursing: A Case for Primary Health Care

Authors

  • Gail Beddome R.N., M.S.N.,

    Corresponding author
    1. Gail Beddome is professor, Nursing Department, Okanagan University College. Heather F. Clarke is nursing research consultant, and Nora B. Whyte is program coordinator, New Directions for Health Care for the Registered Nurses' Association of British Columbia.
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  • Heather F. Clarke R.N., Ph.D.,

    1. Gail Beddome is professor, Nursing Department, Okanagan University College. Heather F. Clarke is nursing research consultant, and Nora B. Whyte is program coordinator, New Directions for Health Care for the Registered Nurses' Association of British Columbia.
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  • Nora B. Whyte R.N., M.S.N.

    1. Gail Beddome is professor, Nursing Department, Okanagan University College. Heather F. Clarke is nursing research consultant, and Nora B. Whyte is program coordinator, New Directions for Health Care for the Registered Nurses' Association of British Columbia.
    Search for more papers by this author

*Address correspondence to Gail Beddome, Department of Nursing Local4494, Okanagan University College, 1000K.L.O. Ruad, Kelowna, BC, VIY 4X8, Canada.

Abstract

Abstract Canada has embraced the goal of the World Health Organization to achieve health for all. This has created a paradigm shift from a focus on direct care to include health promotion and community development, consistent with a primary health care approach. Nevertheless, a clearly articulated vision for the role of public health nurses (PHNs) is lacking. Despite the fact that PHNs make up the largest group of health care workers in the community, their collective opinions and ideas regarding their own practice are seldom sought in a systematic manner. We conducted a survey of public health nurses in British Columbia. Using a two-wave Delphi approach, PHNs were asked to define issues for the future of public health nursing, and to state publicly their preferences for change and transformation. The responses were rank ordered, analyzed, and compared with recent nursing and health care literature to interpret their content. The PHNs' visions for tomorrow agree with concepts of primary health care and community development, and have implications for community health nursing's practice and education.

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