A pilot study exploring Australian general practice nurses roles, responsibilities and professional development needs in well and sick child care

Walsh, Anne M. & Mitchell, Amy E. (2013) A pilot study exploring Australian general practice nurses roles, responsibilities and professional development needs in well and sick child care. Neonatal, Paediatric and Child Health Nursing, 16(2), pp. 21-26.

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Abstract

Aim

Explore practice nurses' (PNs) role in child health and development, and advising parents about child health issues. Background Introduction of the four-year-old child health check into general practice in 2008 placed additional responsibilities on PNs in child health and wellness. This study explores their readiness to expand their practice into this area.

Design

Integrated mixed method design, self-report survey.

Method

A purpose-developed questionnaire explored demographics, child health roles and responsibilities, difficulties encountered, professional development needs, barriers and facilitators, and professional development activities undertaken in the past year. Surveys were posted to 218 PNs in one rural Division of General Practice (DGP) in Queensland, Australia; 29 responded.

Results

PNs reported a significant role in well and sick child care (93.1%) though few had a paediatric/child health background (14.3%). Roles included immunisations (92.3%), child health checks (65.4%), general child health and development (26.9%), asthma (23.1%), feeding (15.4%), fever (11.5%), settling/sleeping (11.5%). PNs were interested in learning more about (81.5%) and incorporating more child health into their practice (81.5%). Professional development in childhood growth and development (80.0%), health and illness (60.0%) and advising new mothers (20.0%) was needed.

Conclusions

PNs play a substantial role in child health, are unprepared for the complexities of this role and have preferred methods for undertaking professional development to address knowledge deficits. Implications for practice PNs are unprepared for an advanced role in child health and wellness. Significant gaps in their knowledge to support this role were identified. This ever-expanding role requires close monitoring to ensure knowledge precedes expectations to practice.

Impact and interest:

1 citations in Scopus
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ID Code: 67810
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
ISSN: 1441-6638
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES (110000) > NURSING (111000) > Nursing not elsewhere classified (111099)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES (110000) > PAEDIATRICS AND REPRODUCTIVE MEDICINE (111400) > Paediatrics and Reproductive Medicine not elsewhere classified (111499)
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Health
Current > Institutes > Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation
Current > Schools > School of Nursing
Deposited On: 26 Feb 2014 04:55
Last Modified: 27 Feb 2014 00:15

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