[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: In today's health care, new health reforms focus on market values and demands of efficiency influence health workers' professional practice. Norwegian public health nurses work mainly with healthy populations, but the children, families and young people they meet can be in vulnerable and even dependent situations. Strategies in coping with ethically challenging encounters can be important for the identity of the profession.
The aim of the study was to illuminate public health nurses' experiences of being in ethically charged encounters and to reflect upon how these experiences can influence their professional identity.
A purposive sample of 23 Norwegian public health nurses with experience ranging from 0.5 to 25 years narrated about their work-related experiences. The interviews were interpreted with a phenomenological hermeneutic method inspired by the philosophy of Paul Ricoeur.
Four themes were identified: feeling responsible, being committed, feeling confident and feeling inadequate. These experiences were related to both work and private life and involved an emotional commitment to the well-being of children, young people and families.
On the basis of the findings, it can be estimated that PHNs are committed to their work, and defending children's rights is a strong driving force. Responsibility for service users is a deciding factor that can overshadow institutional demands. It seems as if value conflicts mobilised courage which is essential in maintaining moral strength. This is in turn important for a strong professional identity and can have positive implications for the quality of public health nursing work.
Scandinavian Journal of Caring Sciences 10/2013; · 0.89 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: It is frequently claimed that nursing is vital to the safe, humane provision of health care and health service to our populations. It is also recognized however, that nursing is a costly health care resource that must be used effectively and efficiently. There is a growing recognition, from within the nursing profession, health care policy makers and society, of the need to analyse the contribution of nursing to health care and its costs. This becomes increasingly pertinent and urgent in a situation, such as that existing in Ireland, where the current financial crisis has lead to public sector employment moratoria, staff cuts and staffing deficits, combined with increased patient expectation, escalating health care costs, and a health care system restructuring and reform agenda. Such factors, increasingly common internationally, make the identification and effective use of the nursing contribution to health care an issue of international importance. This paper seeks to explore the nature of nursing and the function of the nurse within a 21st century health care system, with a focus on the Irish context. However, this analysis fits into and is relevant to the international context and discussion regarding the nursing workforce. This paper uses recent empirical studies exploring the domains of activity and focus of nursing, together with nurses perceptions of their role and work environment, in order to connect those findings with core conceptual questions about the nature and function of nursing.
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