The roles, responsibilities and professional development needs of child health nurses

Barnes, Margaret, Courtney, Mary D., Pratt, Jan D., & Walsh, Anne M. (2004) The roles, responsibilities and professional development needs of child health nurses. Focus on Health Professional Education, 6(1), pp. 52-63.

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This paper discusses the findings from a three-phase study examining child health nurses' roles, responsibilities and professional development needs in a changing health service environment. Child health services were examined during phase one, focus group discussions with nurses from three health service districts in the outer Brisbane and metropolitan area were undertaken during phase two and phase three involved a workshop with participants to consider the findings and develop strategies. This paper focuses on findings from phase two and three of the study. Four major roles were identified; supporting/nurturing, health education/ health promotion, resource/referral and assessment/monitoring. The supportive/ nurturing role comprises 'core' business as nurses support new mothers in their new role and promote self-confidence in their abilities. Health education/ health promotion occurs during each nurse-mother interaction with the provision of current, evidence based information targeting individual needs. Through their resource/referral role, new parents are directed to appropriate group programs, allied health personnel and community services. Assessment/ Monitoring involves assessing child development, identifying psychosocial factors related to family functioning and implementing strategies to meet the needs of child and family. Constant change during the past decade has created increased stress, frustration and feelings of powerlessness. Child health nurses believe their supportive role is threatened through the replacement of individual consultations with group sessions. Identified professional development needs included group facilitation and program implementation skills and content knowledge. Additionally, educational preparation needs to include the complexity of families, psycho-social factors influencing health and wellbeing, the changing health care system and change management.

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ID Code: 1324
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
Additional Information: For more information, please refer to the journal’s website (see link) or contact the author. Author contact details:
Additional URLs:
Keywords: Child health, Health services, Nurses, Nursing, Nursing education, Professional continuing education, Professional development, Role perception, Focus groups, Nurses attitudes, Nursing role
ISSN: 1442-1100
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES (110000) > PUBLIC HEALTH AND HEALTH SERVICES (111700) > Community Child Health (111704)
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Health
Current > Institutes > Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2004 ANZME
Deposited On: 04 Jul 2005 00:00
Last Modified: 29 Feb 2012 13:07

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