Child and family health nurses working with families of preschool-aged children

Authors

  • Karen A Myors RN, RM, MN,

    PhD Student, Corresponding author
    1. Clinical Nurse, School of Nursing and Midwifery, University of Western Sydney, Penrith South DC, NSW, Australia
    • Correspondence: Karen A Myors, Clinical Nurse, School of Nursing and Midwifery, Parramatta Campus, C/- University of Western Sydney, Locked Bag 1797, Penrith South DC, NSW 2751 Australia. Telephone: +61 0415320453.

      E-mail: jka.holgate@bigpond.com; KMyors@nsccahs.health.nsw.gov.au

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  • Virginia Schmied PhD, RN, RM,

    Professor, PhD Student
    1. Clinical Nurse, School of Nursing and Midwifery, University of Western Sydney, Penrith South DC, NSW, Australia
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  • Edward White MSc, PhD

    Director, Conjoint Professor
    1. Osman Consulting Pty Ltd, Sydney, NSW, Australia
    2. School of Psychiatry, University of New South Wales, Sydney, NSW, Australia
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Abstract

Aims and objectives

To examine child and family health nurses’ perceptions of and practices related to working with families of preschool-aged children about their child's behaviour.

Background

Emotional and behavioural problems in young children are of increasing concern. Child and family health nurses are well placed to support parents and provide education about behavioural concerns.

Design

A qualitative interpretive study informed by ethnography was used.

Methods

Forty-eight nurses participated in focus groups. Of these nurses, 11 participated in observations of clinical interactions with 23 mothers. Eight managers were interviewed.

Results

Three themes and two subthemes emerged from the data: Parents as deficit and nurse as expert; Parents have strengths and nurse as partner; Shaping practice – Time pressures and Wanting respect and to be valued.

Conclusions

Child and family health nurses enjoy working with preschool-aged children; however, complex issues and tensions are evident. Nurses need support at all levels within the health service if they are to negotiate an environment of ongoing change and to be enabled to work in partnership with parents and families and thereby promote the emotional and behavioural development of preschool-aged children.

Relevance to clinical practice

The universal role of child and family health nurses provides unique opportunities to support parents about child behaviour concerns. Without appropriate support, nurses continue to work within an expert model that may alienate parents and families from using this service.

Ancillary