International Practice Development Journal


Title of ArticleImproving public health nursing: an example of community-based research in Norway
Type of ArticleOriginal practice development and research
Author/sElisabeth Willumsen, Marit Alstveit
ReferenceVolume 2, Issue 2, Article 4
Date of PublicationNovember 2012
KeywordsAcademia, collaboration, community-based research, higher education, partnership, practice, public health nurse manager

Background:A research project was organised between a university and a municipal mother-child health service to develop a partnership between academia, practice and service users, with the intent of increasing research based education and practice development. The university is responsible for high quality in the education of health professionals and the mother-child health service is responsible for high quality in the area of public health. The partnership between higher education and the public health service took place in the frame of community-based research.

Aims and objectives:The research had two aims; to describe the community-based research process in the context of the mother-child health service, and to explore public health nurse managers’ experiences of taking part in research collaboration with the university.

Design and methods:The study had an evolving design, anchored in the methodology of community-based research, being change oriented and participant based. The results are based on minutes from project meetings, research field notes, and on in-depth interviews with managers.

Results:The public health nurse managers took an active role in the research group during all phases of the project. They acquired a scientific orientation and played an important role in linking various research activities by serving as ‘door-openers’ for the establishment of a mutual research culture. They highlighted relevant problem areas and received updated research results, which contributed to research-based knowledge and improved practice.

Conclusions:Use of research results can shape organisational culture and enhance practice.

Implications for practice: Community-based research contributes to bridging the gap between academia and practice, and facilitates the use of research to improve services. Collaboration enhances the status of public health nurse managers vis-à-vis stakeholders, as well as contributing to the creation of an innovative role. Engaging in partnership between practice and academia facilitates the students’ engagement and contribution to practice development.

This paper includes a commentary by Synnöve Karvinen-Niinikoski.

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This article by Elisabeth Willumsen, Marit Alstveit is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial 3.0 License.

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