Implementing family health assessment: experiences of child health nurses

Catherine Marron, Catherine Maginnis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

3 Citations (Scopus)


Holistic assessment of the health needs of the family is a complex and challenging task. Child health nurses need to be competent in interviewing families and facilitating a safe environment for caregivers to raise concerns. Nursing assessment of health needs has been widely researched however there are few published articles about child health nurses' experiences. This paper explores child health nurses' lived experiences of family health assessment. The main objective of this study is to identify if any barriers exist when implementing family health assessments in practice. Focus group interviews with seven (7) child health nurses were undertaken. This method lends itself to a hermeneutic model where the participants' lived experience is the focus. The analysis revealed challenges related to nurses' knowledge, skills and experience, and barriers related to time. Interesting findings were that guidelines are perceived as useful, relevant and contribute to improved practice. Child health nurses learn valuable skills through critical reflection on their experiences. Experiences uncover meanings and, in turn, needs to be addressed. Needs may include knowledge and skill development, or critical reflection upon personal values and clinical practice. Clinical support mechanisms identified to address such needs may include policies and guidelines, education and training, clinical supervision and peer support processes.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3-14
Number of pages12
JournalNeonatal, Paediatric and Child Health Nursing
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2009

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