Article Title

Transforming clinical practice amongst community nurses: Mentoring for COPD patient self-management

Abstract

Aims and objectives: To report on the process of transforming clinical practice amongst community nurses through a mentoring programme implemented to support self-management amongst community-based sufferers of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

Background: The increasing incidence of and health burden from, chronic diseases has led to the emergence of more proactive, integrated chronic disease management approaches across the acute and primary care sectors. An important part of these approaches is the direct involvement of patients in their own care. Despite some difficulties with comparing the benefits of chronic disease self-management programmes, many evaluations report some benefit and all highlight the importance of health professionals in supporting self-management behaviours. In the primary care sector, community nurses are ideally situated to support these behaviours, but to do this effectively transformation of nursing practice must occur.

Design: Qualitative, longitudinal study informed by action research methods and involving monthly group discussions with community nurse mentors.

Methods: Community nurses from four community health centres in Tasmania were trained in motivational interviewing techniques to promote self-management amongst chronic obstructive pulmonary disease patients. Nurses’ mentoring experiences were monitored during group discussions and subjected to thematic analysis.

Results: The paper reports the findings of the first 12 months of the project. In this phase, nurses experienced a transformation in their constructions of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and their clinical practice. This involved a shift from a fatalistic, prescriptive, biomedical approach to a primary healthcare approach characterised by empathy, consultation, facilitation and a holistic focus.

Conclusions: Community nurses face challenges in supporting chronic disease self-management. These challenges can be overcome and a transformation in clinical practice instilled.

Relevance to clinical practice: This study highlights that it is possible to support community nurses to take a lead role in the ongoing management of chronic disease in the community.

Keywords

peer-reviewed

 

Link to Publisher Version (DOI)

http://doi.org/10.1111/j.1365-2702.2008.02279.x