Maternal and Child Health Nurses Contributions to the Health and Wellbeing of Families in Victoria

Background: Most nursing literature that reports on the contributions of Maternal and Child Health (MCH) Nurses in Australia describes the relationship basis of their work and how they work in partnership with parents. In light of the government reforms focusing on prevention, it is timely to explore how MCH Nurses contribute to the health and wellbeing of families. Method: This qualitative study explores and describes the public health contribution of MCH Nurses to the health and wellbeing of families in Victoria, Australia. A purposive sample of registered nurses in Victoria, who hold postgraduate qualifications in child, family and community nursing, participated in semi-structured interviews. Maximum variation sampling was undertaken until data saturation was reached. The semi-structured interview guide was based on nursing interventions in the Public Health Intervention Model (PHIM). Results: The interviews explored the five areas of the PHIM wheel; surveillance and screening; referrals and case management; health teaching and counselling; collaboration; advocacy and confirmed these nursing public health nursing activities are undertaken in the clinical setting by MCH Nurses. Conclusion: The significance of this inquiry is that it describes how MCH nursing professionals actively intervene to contribute to preventive health efforts. Keywords: Health promotion: Health promotion Lifestages: Maternal health Health systems: Primary health care Key messages: 1. The Intervention wheel was useful to explore MCH nursing practice interventions 2. The majority of public health nursing practice interventions were individually- focused; this finding is similar to research exploring health visitors work in the United Kingdom. 3. There was no agreement as to how much community-focused work was core to the role of an MCH nurse.

Creina Mitchell

School of Nursing and Midwifery, Griffith University