The dissertation shows that Norwegian public health nurses face a number of challenges related to collaboration, boundaries for their knowledge, degree of involvement, and making their role in promoting the health of individuals and local populations more visible.
Clancy’s doctoral dissertation Perceptions of public health nursing practice – on borders and boundaries, visibility and voice, is based on interviews with public health nurses, parents, young people and decision makers as well as observations from local clinics and a school health service in Norway. A national questionnaire survey on collaboration was carried out amongst a sample of public health professionals.
Public health nurses need to become more visible and show the context they are part of, says Anne Clancy who defends her thesis at NHV on the 18th of June.
The results of the dissertation show that being respected is more important to the nurses than authority and status.
Public health nurses have an important function in reporting patterns and trends in public health and promoting public health needs. Clancy says that this function needs to be further developed. Due to low visibility, universal services at local child health clinics can be taken for granted by decision makers.
– The importance of continuity, familiarity with the nurse and nursing services and their role in promoting health can be easily overlooked due to the everyday nature, hidden complexity and health promotive content of many consultations, explains Clancy.
Collaboration is vital in public health. The national survey showed that mental health services are the ones most frequently missed in collaborative relationships.
– Reporting systems that adequately describe public health nursing work are lacking, says Clancy, who hopes that her research will inspire further studies on public health nurses’ role and function in public health. Clancy adds that her research should be of interest for future organizing efforts of health and social services in local communities.
Title of the dissertation: Perceptions of public health nursing practice – on borders and boundaries, visibility and voice