Exploring district nursing competencies in health promotion: the use of the Delphi technique

Fiona Irvine
Journal of Clinical Nursing 2005, 14 (8): 965-75

AIMS AND OBJECTIVES: The research outlined in this paper aimed to establish a consensus view amongst primary healthcare professionals about the competencies that district nurses need in order to fulfil an effective role in health promotion.

BACKGROUND: In recent years there has been a growing emphasis on health promotion in primary care in the United Kingdom and health promotion is becoming increasingly important to nurses who work in the community. However, consideration of the role of the district nurse in health promotion is rather restricted and consequently district nurses have limited access to empirical evidence, from which they can develop their work in health promotion.

DESIGN AND METHODS: The Delphi technique was used for this study. Seventy-two primary healthcare professionals were mailed a series of three questionnaires, which achieved response rates of 86, 87.5 and 78.9%.

RESULTS: There was a consensus amongst the panellists that district nurses require a range of competencies to engage effectively in health promotion. These were categorized to produce a definitive list of eight knowledge-, seven attitude- and eight skill-related competencies.

CONCLUSIONS: For the first time, this study achieves a consensus on the competencies needed by district nurses to engage in health promotion.

RELEVANCE TO CLINICAL PRACTICE: District nurses should feel encouraged to develop their health promotion role in light of the fact that many of the competencies that they require for this activity have been identified as essential for their day-to-day nursing practice. The research highlights the fact that new paradigm health promotion is a concept that has moved beyond the academic arena and is recognized as significant by practising health professionals.

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