Methodological issues in the evaluation of the quality of public health nursing: a case study of the maternal and child health centres in Hong Kong

S Twinn
Journal of Advanced Nursing 1997, 25 (4): 753-9
The demand for the evaluation of the quality of patient and client care has increased in public health nursing as in all disciplines of nursing. In Hong Kong this demand led to the development of a collaborative study with the Department of Health to evaluate the quality of public health nursing in the maternal and child health centres. A multiple case study design was developed to undertake the research using both qualitative and quantitative methods of data collection. The findings from the study demonstrated not only implications for clinical practice which have been reported elsewhere, but also methodological issues for the evaluation of care. These findings indicate three major issues for consideration. The first issue is that of the cultural context of care which includes perceptions of care such as demands on the service and expectations of care. The second issue is the use of health data, including both the methods of recordings as well as the sources of data. The final issue is that of the method of data collection, in particular the implications of the use of language in data collection tools. The findings suggest that both the use of professional language and the need for translation have implications for data collection methods. Indeed in the author's view the development of methodologies for the evaluation of care must address culturally specific issues, particularly where English is not the first language of subjects in the study. In addition the use the use of language in the method of data collection highlights more general issues raised by the use of translation in the collection and analysis of qualitative data.

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