Revealing the Voices of Public Health Nurses by Exploring Their Lived Experience

Authors

  • Barbara L. Joyce Ph.D., C.N.S., R.N., A.N.E.F.,

    Corresponding author
    1. Beth-El College of Nursing and Health Sciences, University of Colorado, Colorado Springs, Colorado
    • Correspondence to:

      Barbara Joyce, Beth-El College of Nursing and Health Sciences, University of Colorado, Colorado Springs, 1420 Austin Bluffs Parkway, Colorado Springs, CO 80918. E-mail: bjoyce@uccs.edu

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  • Karen O'Brien D.N.P., R.N.,

    1. The Association of Public Health Nurses, Denver, Colorado
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  • Brene Belew-LaDue R.N., B.S.N.,

    1. Department of Nursing, Grand County Public Health, Hot Sulphur Springs, Colorado
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  • Tsering K. Dorjee M.S.N., M.P.H., P.H.C.N.S.-B.C.,

    1. Department of Planning and Partnerships, Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, Denver, Colorado
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  • Claudia M. Smith Ph.D., M.P.H., R.N.-B.C.

    1. Community Public Health Nursing Private Consultant, Bowie, Maryland
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Abstract

Objective

The purpose of this qualitative study was to explore the lived experience of the public health nurse and the value added by nurses working in public health roles.

Design

Focus groups were conducted using open ended questions to provide depth of understanding of the value of the public health nurse (PHN). Thematic categories emerged. Follow-up telephone interviews were conducted with eleven public health nurses to further provide further depth and understanding.

Sample

The annual meeting of the Public Health Nurses Association of Colorado (PHNAC) was used to recruit volunteers for the study. Eighty-eight public health nurses participated.

Measurements

Five questions were developed and a semi-structured questionnaire was used to elicit discussion. Transcriptions were analyzed and coded for thrust and intent.

Results

Application of the study findings were used to develop an advocacy campaign for PHNs and provided foundation for development of an Interactive Learning Model a community/public health nursing course.

Conclusions

Application of study findings to the Cornerstones of Public Health Nursing (Keller, L., Strohschein, S., & Schaffer, M. Public Health Nursing. 28(3), 249–260, 2011) are explored with recommendations for future research. Role validation of the value of public health nurses in the community can provide understanding of and support for public health nursing positions.

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