Mapping a new future: Primary Health Care Nursing in New Zealand

by Sheridan, Nicolette Fay

Abstract (Summary)
The aim of the study was to determine the practice of nurses employed in integrated care projects in New Zealand from late 1999 to early 2001. Integrated care was a major health reform strategy that emphasised primary health care as a means to improve service provision between the health sectors. An investigation of nurses’ practice sought to determine the extent to which primary health care principles had been adopted in practice, as a comprehensive primary health care approach has been advocated globally in the management of chronic conditions; the leading cause of disability throughout the world and the most expensive problems faced by health care systems. The philosophical basis of the research was postpositivism. The study employed a quantitative non-experimental survey design because it allowed numeric descriptions of the characteristics of integrated care projects to be gained for the purpose of identifying nurses’ practice. The unit of inquiry was the integrated care project, and 80 comprised the study population. Data were obtained on projects from expert informants (n=27) by telephone survey using a structured interview questionnaire developed by the researcher. Data obtained from interviews were statistically analysed in two stages. First, data were produced to comprehensively describe the characteristics of integrated care projects and nurses practice. The ‘Public health interventions model’ was used as a framework to analyses the interventions (activities) and levels of population-based practice of nurses. Following this, the social values embedded in nurses’ practice were determined using ‘Beattie’s model of health promotion’ as a framework for analysis. A strong association was found between nurses’ practice in projects and strategies used in integrated care, such as information sharing, guideline development and promotion, and case management, and projects with an ethnic focus, low income focus, chronic condition focus, and well-health focus. Whilst nurses undertook interventions most frequently at the individual practice level they were also strongly ii associated with the small proportion of interventions that were undertaken at the community level. The majority of interventions by nurses reflected the health promotion value of health persuasion, indicating a paternalist and individual-oriented philosophy. Nurses were engaged in two interventions that indicated a collectiveoriented philosophy - coalition building and community development, the latter reflecting health promotion values of negotiation, partnership and empowerment. The study demonstrated that nurses’ practice in projects was predominantly centred on individual-focused population-based practice suggesting the need for a framework to assist nurses to transition their practice to include more activity at the community and systems levels. Without a reorientation of practice, nurses will remain limited in their ability to achieve health gains for populations. In response to this conclusion, and drawing on research results and reviewed literature, a new model, The ‘Primary Health Care interventions model’ was constructed. Recommendations include advocacy for the acceptance of the model by the health funder, professional nursing bodies, health organisations, educational institutions, nurses, communities, and individuals.
Bibliographical Information:


School:The University of Auckland / Te Whare Wananga o Tamaki Makaurau

School Location:New Zealand

Source Type:Master's Thesis

Keywords:primary health care interventions model nursing promotion determinants chronic conditions integrated new zealand reforms


Date of Publication:01/01/2005

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