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Insider perspectives: Qualitative insight from health visitor practice teachers and managers in 2012/13

Brook, J. & Salmon, D. (2015). Insider perspectives: Qualitative insight from health visitor practice teachers and managers in 2012/13. Journal of Health Visiting, 3(1), pp. 30-36. doi: 10.12968/johv.2015.3.1.30


Internationally, there is a strong interest in engaging the public more widely in both the development and governance of public services. This study aimed to explore family perspectives on the introduction of a new policy initiative called the ‘Health Visitor Implementation Plan’ (DH 2011) and their experiences of the new health visitor service provision. The policy aimed to increase the health visitor workforce by 4200 additional practitioners between 2011 and 2015, in parallel with introducing a new service model to provide comprehensive and accessible support for parents with children 0-5 years. Questions focused around the extent to which the new service met parental expectation and need.

Using a qualitative approach, data were collected via semi-structured interviews and focus groups with 22 parents between March 2013 and March 2014. Participants were recruited through Children’s Centres and interviewed during established group sessions. Analysis was conducted using thematic analysis and constant comparative methods.

The participants were asked to share their experiences of the health visiting service and their views on this national policy initiative. Although asked to comment on the macro and national level about the policy, their responses were predominantly around personal experience. Parents welcomed the increase in workforce capacity and positive experiences centred on health visitors who were caring, knowledgeable, skilled and facilitated positive outcomes. Many of the negative experiences were seen to be due to poor relationships between the parent and the health visitor. Parents were influenced by the communication skills and personal attributes of the individual health visitors, including time to listen. The strength of parental opinion indicated that parents are willing to contribute to service development, consequently policy makers and health visitors themselves need to have clarity around the purpose and mechanism of parental involvement if meaningful partnership is to become a reality.

Publication Type: Article
Publisher Keywords: Health Visitor Implementation Plan, Call to action, Policy, Public health nursing, Qualitative research, Nurse managers, Health visiting
Subjects: L Education > LB Theory and practice of education
R Medicine > RT Nursing
Departments: School of Health & Psychological Sciences > Healthcare Services Research & Management
[thumbnail of Families paper Complete text with alterations and line numbers.pdf]
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