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An analysis of the development of family health nursing in Scotland through policy and practice 1998-2006.

Macduff, Colin


Colin Macduff


Bernice J.M. West

Kader Parahoo


In 1998 World Health Organisation Europe outlined a vision of a new community-based nurse called the Family Health Nurse (FHN) who would help individuals, families and communities to cope with illness and to improve their health. Scotland was the first European country to develop this idea through policy, education and practice. The two phase national pilot project (2001-2006) primarily involved remote and rural regions. Despite its vanguard position, Scottish family health nursing has been subject to little in-depth critical analysis. This thesis addresses this deficit by analysing why and how family health nursing developed in Scotland. The research methods used are: critical review of textual sources; empirical research into policy, education and practice; and critical review and application of relevant theoretical perspectives to enable interpretation. Grounded primarily in constructivism, this approach builds explanation of the development of family health nursing in Scotland as a phenomenon in contemporary nursing history. This explanation highlights the importance of key factors and processes, particularly: agency at policy formulation level; use of the piloting mechanism to mediate knowledge production, containment and expansion; tensions between generalism and specialism as manifest within the promulgated FHN concept, the educational programme, and the FHN role as it was variously enacted in practice; related difficulty in engaging substantially with families; and the strong influence of local context on the nature and scope of FHN role development, especially in terms of situated power and embedded culture of place. The explanation is summarised as a synoptic story. A new integrative, explanatory model of the development of family health nursing in Scotland is also posited. This knowledge is then examined in relation to contemporary community nursing and primary care in order to understand influence and implications. This highlights the importance of the development of family health nursing in shaping the new Community Health Nurse (CHN) role which emerged from the Review of Nursing in the Community in Scotland 2006. The new explanatory model constructed within the thesis is then applied in its more generic MAPPED format (Model for Analysing Policy to Practice Executive Developments) to analyse the new policy formulation advancing the CHN role and to anticipate key developmental factors and processes. On this basis, the thesis argues that the MAPPED model is potentially valuable for the analysis of developments that require purview from policy through to practice. The thesis concludes by summarising its contributions to understandings of community nursing policy, practice, research and theory, and makes a number of related recommendations.


MACDUFF, C. 2007. An analysis of the development of family health nursing in Scotland through policy and practice 1998-2006. Robert Gordon University, PhD thesis.

Thesis Type Thesis
Deposit Date Sep 10, 2007
Publicly Available Date Sep 10, 2007
Keywords Family health nurse; Community nursing development; Policy and practice; Constructivist analysis; Remote and rural; Scotland; WHO; Europe
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Award Date May 31, 2007


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