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Canadian Journal of Public Health

, Volume 99, Issue 3, pp 206–211 | Cite as

Public Health Nurses’ (PHNs) Perceptions of their Role in Early Postpartum Discharge

  • Cheryl L. CusackEmail author
  • Wendy A. Hall
  • Lynn S. Scruby
  • Sabrina T. Wong
Article
  • 2 Downloads

Abstract

Objectives

Following the introduction of hospital early postpartum discharge (EPD), public health nurses (PHNs) have provided large-scale in-home follow-up to promote the safety and well-being of mothers and babies. Given high numbers of births per year, this program has affected PHNs’ practice. This descriptive qualitative study aimed to explore PHNs’ perceptions of EPD and its effects on their practice.

Methods

Data were collected in focus groups (n=24) consisting of PHNs in four community health areas (CHAs) in the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority (WRHA). Audiotaped data were transcribed, entered into Microsoft Word XP, and analyzed using constant comparison.

Results

The female participants had a mean of 10 years of PHN experience. Three main themes and 10 subthemes were identified. The main themes were: passion for the PHN role, influence of EPD on practice, and building a PHN future. The subthemes included: valuing public health nursing, building capacity and developing relationships, changes in practice, erosion of health promotion, a new role, proper tools, continuity of care, relationships with community partners, and resources to support public health programs.

Conclusion

The PHNs indicated the introduction of EPD altered their practice by reducing their role in community-level intervention and health promotion activities. Although they identified benefits from undertaking EPD activities, they wanted resources and funding shifted into the public health system to better support PHNs’ increase in scope of practice and historical roles in promoting the health of individuals, families and communities.

Key words

Early discharge practice community health healthy beginnings post-natal follow-up 

Fr

Mots clés congé précoce keywords Occupations childhood wounds and injuriespratiques santé communautaire bon départ suivi postnatal 

Résumé

Objectifs

Depuis l’introduction dans les hôpitaux du congé précoce en post-partum (CPP), les infirmières hygiénistes font un suivi à domicile à grande échelle pour promouvoir la sécurité et le bien-être des mères et des bébés. Étant donné le grand nombre de naissances par année, ce programme a eu des répercussions sur l’exercice des soins infirmiers de santé publique. Notre étude qualitative descriptive porte sur les perceptions des infirmières hygiénistes à l’égard du CPP et de ses effets sur leur pratique professionnelle.

Méthode

Les données ont été recueillies à la faveur de groupes de discussion (n=24) composés d’infirmières hygiénistes de quatre secteurs sanitaires de l’Office régional de la santé de Winnipeg (ORSW). Les données, enregistrées sur bande sonore, ont été transcrites, entrées dans Microsoft Word XP et analysées en dressant une comparaison des constantes.

Résultats

Les participantes avaient en moyenne 10 ans d’expérience en tant qu’infirmières hygiénistes. L’analyse des données a permis de dégager trois grands thèmes (la passion pour le métier d’infirmière hygiéniste; l’influence du CPP sur les pratiques; l’avenir du métier) et 10 sous-thèmes (la considération envers les services infirmiers de santé publique; le renforcement des capacités et des relations; les changements dans la pratique; l’érosion de la promotion de la santé; un nouveau rôle; les bons outils; le suivi des soins; les relations avec les partenaires communautaires; et les ressources disponibles pour les programmes de santé publique).

Conclusion

Selon les infirmières hygiénistes, l’introduction du CPP a modifié leur pratique professionnelle en réduisant leur participation aux activités d’intervention communautaire et de promotion de la santé. Bien que les activités liées au CPP aient leurs avantages, les infirmières voudraient que l’on achemine des ressources et des fonds vers le réseau de la santé publique pour mieux appuyer l’élargissement de leur champ d’activité et leur rôle traditionnel de promotion de la santé individuelle, collective et familiale.

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Copyright information

© The Canadian Public Health Association 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Cheryl L. Cusack
    • 1
    Email author
  • Wendy A. Hall
    • 2
  • Lynn S. Scruby
    • 3
  • Sabrina T. Wong
    • 4
  1. 1.Winnipeg Regional Health AuthorityWinnipegCanada
  2. 2.University of British Columbia School of NursingVancouverCanada
  3. 3.University of Manitoba Faculty of NursingWinnipegCanada
  4. 4.University of British Columbia School of NursingCanada

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