ABSTRACT Objective: This study investigates conceptualizations of disease prevention and health promotion (DPHP) among nurses from local public health organizations in Montréal, Québec.
Design and Sample: A collaborative qualitative study was conducted among a purposive sample of 41 nurses.
Measures: Semi-structured interviews investigated two themes: meanings attributed to DPHP as well as nurses' recent DPHP activities.
Results: Although the meaning attributed to prevention referred to standard definitions, health promotion was often defined as large-scale health education oriented toward the attainment of positive results, such as health and well-being. Almost completely absent from participants' discourse were central notions such as empowerment and health determinants, including socioenvironmental dimensions of health. With regard to activity descriptions, there was a very partial coverage of the full spectrum of DPHP. Participants rarely went beyond traditional health education activities aimed at an individual target. Finally, a sizeable number of participants appeared to be unable to provide a clear distinction between the terms “health promotion” and “prevention.”
Conclusions: The results are consistent with a conclusion frequently drawn by commentators and researchers alike that highlight a narrow range of DPHP nursing practices.